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Fake LDS marriage counselor gets jail on sex charges

Published February 12, 2013 12:44 pm

Courts • Arturo Tenorio to serve three years in jail, followed by five years on probation.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

West Jordan •A man who pretended to be an LDS marriage counselor was led from a courtroom in handcuffs Tuesday morning to begin a three-year jail sentence for sexually abusing four women.

Arturo Tenorio, 59, appeared in 3rd District Court to be sentenced for convictions on two counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse. Those convictions resulted from separate jury trials late last year and earlier this year.

But prosecutor Riley Player quickly revealed that he was filing two new counts of forcible sexual abuse. Riley and defense attorney Kenneth Brown told Judge Bruce Lubeck they had agreed on a deal: Tenorio would plead guilty to the new charges and, in exchange, prosecutors would recommend a two-year jail sentence.

At the end of the hearing, Lubeck agreed to sentence Tenorio to one year in jail on each of the new charges, as well as a year in jail for the previous convictions. The sentences will run consecutively, meaning Tenorio will spend three years in the Salt Lake County jail.

Prosecutors filed the new charges after learning that Tenorio had sexually abused two women who previously worked for him. During Tuesday's hearing, one of the women said through an interpreter that Tenorio groped and intimidated her, and showed her sexually explicit material. After the abuse ended, she suffered anxiety and depression. The woman said Tenorio's actions also hurt her church because Tenorio had been a trusted member of the community.

The second newly discovered victim also previously worked for Tenorio but said she had been abused while seeing him for a counseling session. The allegation mirrored those that resulted in the original charges, when he reportedly offered LDS marriage counseling services. Last year, one of the victims testified that Tenorio came highly recommended from an LDS bishop, but used the counseling sessions to make sexual advances.

During Tuesday's hearing, the woman said she was still suffering psychological fallout from the abuse. "It's been over two years and I'm still dealing with it," she told the judge.

A jury convicted Tenorio of one count of forcible sexual abuse in August but deadlocked on a second count. When the case was retried in January, he was convicted on the second count.

Before he was sentenced, Tenorio described his actions as "morally wrong" and apologized, expressing hope that his victims would forgive him "one day in the future, if they want to."

Lubeck could have sentenced Tenorio to 15 years in prison on each count, but ordered jail because he believes Tenorio is a good man who did something wrong. He said he felt jail was a satisfactory punishment.

"I think it's a harsh judgment," Lubeck said of the jail sentence.

Lubeck later marveled that Tenorio brought his family to court to listen to graphic accounts of his crimes.

In addition to jail, Tenorio will spend five years on probation and was ordered not to have contact with the victims.

jdalrymple@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jimmycdii