Trial begins for man charged with sex assaults on 4 victims in OC


SANTA ANA, Calif. — A 46-year-old man raped a teen in Santa Ana and a volleyball player visiting from Japan in Newport Beach, in addition to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl and groping a woman at a Costa Mesa gym, a prosecutor told jurors Sept. 12, but the defendant’s attorney insisted his client was not guilty.

Luis Arturo Gonzalez Monroy is charged with three counts of rape, one count of sexual penetration by a foreign object and two counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14, all felonies.

One of the accusers testified she was 17 when the defendant allegedly raped her in his van on Dec. 30, 2020.

The alleged victim said she was staying with her mother in Buena Park on winter break from high school at the time when she went out to meet some friends. She said her friends would sometimes use her phone and they apparently had been texting with the defendant, who they had met previously.

But that night was the “first time I had seen him,” she testified.

Gonzalez went to a convenience store with the teens and bought alcohol for them, she testified. She said she got “tipsy” in his van as they drove around.

Meanwhile, her mother kept calling her, reminding her of an 11 p.m. curfew, she said.

“She was getting upset,” the accuser testified. “I told my friends I had to leave.”

The alleged victim asked her mother if her male friend, who had just turned 18, could stay with them that night, but her mother said no, so Gonzalez dropped off all of her friends, leaving the teen alone with him, she testified.

“I was trying to keep my eyes open,” she said, adding she hadn’t eaten all day so she felt weak and tired.

On the way to her mother’s apartment, he said he had to stop somewhere to relieve himself so he stopped in what appeared to be an industrial neighborhood without anyone around, she testified. Then he came back into the van and climbed on top of her, she testified.

“I told him no, I didn’t want it,” she testified. “I was in shock and I didn’t know that was going to happen to me.”

The defendant pulled down her pants and raped her, she testified.

“I tried to push him away, but I couldn’t,” she testified. “His whole weight was on me and I felt weak… I didn’t eat all day.”
Gonzalez later dropped her off a couple of blocks away from her mother’s apartment, she testified. “I walked home, crying,” she testified.

Deputy District Attorney Shane McDonough told jurors in his opening statement that the defendant also twice raped a 26-year-old volleyball player visiting Irvine from Japan on Aug. 9, 2017.

The alleged victim was at a bank in Irvine trying to order an Uber ride, but she could not get cell service, McDonough said. The defendant offered her a ride, he said.

The defendant took her to Newport Beach, where he allegedly raped her on a trail and then took her to Echo Park and Universal Studios before driving back to Orange County and sexually assaulting her again before taking her home, McDonough said.

“She reported it so it wouldn’t happen again,” the prosecutor said.

The defendant’s DNA was found in both alleged victims, the prosecutor said.

Gonzalez was also accused of twice touching a 13-year-old girl, who was the daughter of his girlfriend, while driving her home from school in June 2014, McDonough said. Both times the girl told him “no” when he touched her leg and he stopped, the prosecutor said.

Another woman said she was 19 in 2012 when the defendant allegedly groped her at a 24 Hour Fitness in Costa Mesa, McDonough said. The defendant is not charged in that allegation, but the woman will testify as part of evidence to help establish a pattern of behavior, the prosecutor said.

The defendant’s attorney, Jason Phlaum of the Alternate Defender’s Office, said his client occasionally lived out of vehicles he owned to save money for his children. He worked as a “street mechanic,” the attorney said.

The defense attorney characterized the day spent with the Japanese volleyball player as a “long date.” He said the alleged victim’s phone contained hundreds of photos she took documenting where they went, including photos of Newport Beach and the Los Angeles skyline. “These photos do not point to a rape,” Phlaum said. “She said he never threatened or menaced her at any time.”

McDonough said the accuser was frightened and took the photos to go along with the defendant.

The 17-year-old accuser “had a history of erratic behavior,” Phlaum said, adding she had substance abuse issues and would run away from home.

Phlaum also accused the teen of at times making “outlandish allegations” at others.

She would experience “hallucinations” and “paranoid thinking,” and her medication “didn’t work well when she mixed it with street drugs,” Phlaum said.

As for the 13-year-old girl, Phlaum said the alleged victim and her older sister did not like the defendant and wanted their mother to get back with their father. The girl reported the inappropriate touching after a stay with her father, Phlaum said.

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