The Case of the Demented Mechanic

We assume that events of our daily lives--grocery shopping, getting gas, driving to work--can be performed without traumatic experiences. But in 2007, Laura--an Orange County woman--discovered that the routine does not always guarantee safety.

She took her car to a Garden Grove Econo Lube shop simply to get an oil change and ended up being raped in the service bay by a mechanic.

From Econo Lube to the state correctional Econo Lodge for Adrian Montano Fuerte.
From Econo Lube to the state correctional Econo Lodge for Adrian Montano Fuerte.
Courtesy of Orange County District Attorney's Office

For that rape and the sexual assaults of four other women ranging in age from 18 to 60 at the shop, Adrian Montano Fuerte received a 14-year prison sentence in 2009 after a jury convicted him on multiple counts.

Now the incarcerated Fuerte, 40, says his conviction was a sham because there was "insufficient evidence" he raped Laura or assaulted the other women. If the women hadn't want to have sex with him, there would have been evidence they had fought violently to escape, he reasoned.

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And he noted that the presence of his semen inside one victim is a neutral fact.

But on June 29, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana reviewed Fuerte's trial and announced it's ruling: get comfy in that prison cell. Jurors reasonably concluded that the women had been victimized, opined the appellate justices.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly


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