Hector Becerra, Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2006
In the early-morning darkness, the woman saw the deputy’s cruiser bob through her rearview mirror, spanning first one city, then a second, before reaching the edge of a third.
On a near-empty street not far from her South Gate home, the lawman stopped her, then ordered her into his vehicle.
For more than an hour, he meandered around that city, asking questions — where she worked, where she lived. He made a point to drive by those places.
The deputy then stopped in an isolated industrial yard near Tweedy Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue, parking between cargo containers. He ordered her to take off her clothes.
“I asked him, ‘Why are you doing this?’” the 42-year-old beauty parlor owner and mother of two said Wednesday. “He would not talk. He just kept raping me. I couldn’t run. He was armed. He was a cop.”
For months, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Gabriel Gonzalez prowled the streets of Compton and surrounding cities during his early-morning patrol shifts. In at least three cases, prosecutors said, he stopped women as they drove or walked alone, ordering them to strip before he sexually abused or raped them. Several other women who said they were victimized by him testified in the trial, but no charges were filed in their cases.
This week, a federal court jury convicted the 38-year-old deputy, a Chino Hills resident, of civil rights violations in the three cases. The deputy, who had been free on a $900,000 bond during the trial and was taken into custody after his conviction, faces up to life in federal prison when sentenced May 22.