The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

April 10, 2014

Defendant bound over for trial in sex abuse case

— A Jasper County judge found probable cause at a hearing Thursday for a rural Carthage man to stand trial on charges that he sexually abused a young woman.

Associate Circuit Judge Richard Copeland ordered Hector J. Gonzalez, 50, to stand trial on three counts of deviate sexual assault at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin.

The alleged victim testified that Gonzalez forced her to gratify him sexually on three occasions in February of last year when she was 18 years old. The defendant plied her with alcoholic drinks the first two times and threatened to cause problems for her family if she refused the last time, she told the court.

The woman said the first time, Gonzalez gave her a dark-colored drink.

“It smelled like rubbing alcohol,” she said. “It burned.”

It also made her lightheaded, she said. She had not been allowed near alcohol growing up, she said.

She said Gonzalez asked her to massage his shoulders, and she complied. He changed the channel that she was watching to a pornographic channel, and then abused her, she said.

She testified that Gonzalez forced the same act on her two other days that month.

Defense attorney Ross Rhoades asked why she did not refuse to rub Gonzalez’s shoulders.

“I tried,” she said.

The attorney asked why she did not leave the room when Gonzalez changed channels.

“I tried,” she said. “I tried. I couldn’t. Because I felt lightheaded and I didn’t know what to do.”

She acknowledged on cross-examination that there were others in the house, but that she did not call out to them or later tell them what had happened. She said she called an uncle and told him after the second occasion, but the defendant made her call him back and tell him that she had lied.

Next hearing

A JUDGE HAS SET April 21 as the initial appearance date for Hector Gonzalez in a trial division of Jasper County Circuit Court.

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