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Retrial ordered for fake marriage counselor accused of sexual abuse

Published October 23, 2012 11:41 am

Courts • 2 more victims have also come forward alleging sex abuse.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

West Jordan • A fake marriage counselor accused of sexually abusing two women during their sessions was scheduled to be sentenced in connection with one of the cases on Tuesday in 3rd District Court. But instead, a retrial was set for early next year in the case of a second alleged victim, in which the jury could not come to a verdict.

Arturo Tenorio, 59, could have been sentenced for up to 15 years in prison for his second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse conviction, but Judge Bruce Lubeck decided Tuesday to wait other case is resolved.

Though Tenorio's initial trial was in August, prosecutors announced only Tuesday that they intended to conduct a retrial.

During the initial trial, defense attorney Kenneth Brown focused his cross-examination 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 — regarding that woman's allegations.

However, the jury did decide that Tenorio was guilty of sexually abusing the other victim who testified at the August trial.

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 woman's bishop, she 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's re-trial is set for Jan. 23 and 24. Lubeck indicated that he would sentence Tenorio after a jury gave a clear decision about the other charge, a count of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse.

Even after January's trial, Tenorio's legal problems may not be resolved. Brandon Simmons, a staff attorney with the Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic, said outside the courtroom Tuesday that two more women have come forward alleging that Tenorio sexually abused them. He said additional charges could be filed as early as the end of the week.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller