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Jury convicts phony Utah marriage counselor on sex abuse count
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A jury Friday convicted a fake marriage counselor of sexually abusing a woman during their sessions.

The 3rd District Court jury returned the guilty verdict on one count of forcible sexual abuse, but jurors could not reach a decision on an identical charge involving another woman's allegations.

Tenorio faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on the single count in October.

Earlier this week, two women from the same LDS church testified they were referred to Arturo Tenorio, 59, by their bishop for marriage counseling. The sessions soon turned sexual, they said, as Tenorio made comments that made them uneasy, and eventually started touching the women.

Defense attorney Kenneth Brown focused his cross-examination Wednesday on why at least one of the alleged victims never tried to stop Tenorio's advances.

I just didn't know what was going on," the woman said in court. "I didn't know what to think. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't put two and two together."

The jury could not reach a decision — either guilty or not guilty —├é┬áregarding her allegations.

The other alleged victim testified that Tenorio caressed her shoulder and touched her leg, working his hand up her inner thigh. He asked her if she was aroused, she said. When he tried to grab her breasts and simulate sexual positions with her, she resisted, the woman said.

Tenorio came highly recommended by the bishop, the women said. His brother, Octaviano Tenorio, was a member of the LDS church's First Quorum of the Seventy, and Tenorio quoted scripture and Mormon prophets during counseling sessions.

"He was like a father to me," the woman who stopped Tenorio's advances said. "My whole family is in South America and I didn't have anyone to talk to about these things. He made me really comfortable. It really made me trust him."

Tenorio did not testify.

Defense attorneys intend to argue that the conviction should be tossed because the statute is unconstitutionally vague.

afalk@sltrib.com

Court • One alleged victim said she never stopped his advances.
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