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Daughters testify in emotional sentencing hearing of lifetime of sex abuse, father gets 300 years to life


Daughters testify in emotional sentencing hearing of lifetime of sex abuse, father gets 300 years to life

By Malaika Fraley

Contra Costa Times

Posted: 12/28/2011 09:22:56 AM PST

Updated: 12/28/2011 09:24:48 AM PST

MARTINEZ -- Six sisters survived a childhood and adolescence during which they were regularly raped and molested by their father, while their mother did what she could to fulfill and conceal her husband's twisted perversion.

One-by-one Friday, five of the sisters confronted their parents, Zion and Glenda Dutro, before the Antioch couple were sentenced to prison for what's been called the worst child sexual abuse case to go through Contra Costa Superior Court. The women gave the Times permission to reveal their familial relationship to the couple, who took a plea deal in exchange for 300 years to life in prison for 49-year-old Zion and 15 years for 48-year-old Glenda.

"This is, in my mind, your funeral," one of the sisters said. "This is not an easy thing to experience but it is only half as painful as what I have been through."

The Dutros' crimes against their six daughters spanned more than a decade, beginning when some were as young as 4 and continuing through their teens and adulthood. They described being beaten by both parents, and being denied medical care for broken arms and ribs. Some of the women said they were denied education by Glenda, who pretended to home-school them, and that their parents bought a house with college money left to them by their great-grandfather.

What limited contact with the outside world they had came through the Dutros' roles as parishioners at Antioch's Calvary Open Bible Church, which the women said condemned them and defended their father when they would speak out about the abuse -- even after Zion was convicted of molesting one of them in 1995.

Zion is a "monster," they said, and now that they are mothers, they cannot understand why their mother would never protect them.

"I would tell my mother over and over again," one sister said. "She would listen and either become either incredibly jealous and angry at me for 'seducing her husband' or tell me I was lying.

"She began to handpick us for him "... sending us into the room so he could molest us, and then rattle the door knob to warn him she was re-entering the room," she said.

Zion -- born Bruce Allan Dutro -- mostly smirked during his daughters' statements. Glenda, her hair in pigtails, occasionally dabbed her eyes with a tissue, though she was mostly stoic.

The couple was arrested in early 2009 after an eight-month investigation, launched when the daughters went to police upon hearing that their parents were trying to adopt a child from Mexico through their church.

"I am so grateful to Officer Jason Vanderpool, Detective Blair Benzler and (deputy) district attorney Paul Graves for believing us girls when no one else would," one sister said.

It took three attempts to get through his first reading of the case file, Graves said, because the facts made him want to vomit. Both he and Benzler said they were impressed by the sisters' bravery for seeking justice and strength in assembling normal lives after such a horrific childhood.

"They say that there are not any heroes left in this world," Graves said. "I have six."

Police normally do not speak at sentencings, but Benzler said he was compelled.

"I only recall a few cases that I have investigated, or assisted with, that are so heinous that they disturb me to my core, and this one is on the top of the list," said Benzler, a 16-year police veteran. "I felt I needed to speak today in order to get closure on it myself because it has been my nightmare for the last three years.

"The level of sexual abuse and utter treachery committed by Zion and Glenda Dutro against their own flesh and blood is so sickening and reprehensible," he said, "that it will stay with me forever."

2011 Dec 28