What 5-foot-3, 180-pound Gustavo Palmas Reyes of Anaheim lacks in English-speaking skills he makes up for in nerve. The construction worker arrived home drunk one night in July 2005 and beat his live-in girlfriend. She had made the mistake of cooking him dinner when he wasn't hungry. Annoyed, the 42-year-old then left to drink alcohol and eat fried chicken with friends. Later that night, he came home to the couple's one-bedroom apartment near Disneyland, where he stripped, molested and raped his girlfriend's mute, developmentally disabled 12-year-old daughter.
Caught in the act by the little girl's horrified uncle, Reyes declared he'd gotten “vengeance” against his girlfriend. When police arrived, Reyes tried to blame the consumption of 13 beers and, perhaps sensing he wasn't winning sympathy, finally suggested that he'd mounted the girl only to save her from an alleged epileptic seizure. The tale might have had a slight chance if his DNA hadn't been found in the girl's vagina. “Well, I've touched her,” he told a police detective the next day. “I'm not saying that I haven't. But she likes me like you wouldn't believe, that's why I regret this.”
He also declared himself “a normal person,” cried, noted his otherwise-clean criminal record, begged for “forgiveness” and suggested counseling as punishment. Police and prosecutors weren't impressed. Based on their work, an Orange County jury convicted Reyes, who has a wife and kids in Mexico, on three felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor. For an hour's worth of stupidity, he won a free trip to a California prison. It'll be his home for a decade.
(Periodically at OCWeekly.com, discover the depths of human depravity in Orange County, California.)
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— R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.