Antioch Sexual Abuse Suspects Arraigned

By Robert Salonga and Malaika Fraley
Contra Costa Times
January 17, 2009

Zion Dutro listens as he and his wife Glenda Dutro are arraigned before judge Charles Treat on.

An Antioch couple were arraigned Friday on a multitude of sexual crimes against family members as details emerged about what authorities said was a pattern of abuse over the course of eight years.

Zion Dutro, 47, and Glenda Dutro, 45, were known as friendly churchgoers who home-schooled their children. Investigators and family members now believe their public appearance masked a tightly controlled household that kept the alleged abuse from coming to light.

The two were arrested Thursday and charged with felony counts involving multiple allegations of rape, sodomy and lewd acts on children under the age of 14. Zion Dutro is charged with 21 counts and is in County Jail on $8 million bail. His wife has been charged with four counts and is held on $2 million bail.

The Dutros stood side by side behind a glass courtroom partition at their arraignment in Martinez. Glenda Dutro dropped her head and lightly shook her head as Judge Charles Treat began to read the lengthy complaint.

Treat granted a protective order to prohibit the couple from having contact with the alleged victims. The couple, who did not enter a plea, were referred to the public defender's office and ordered to return to court Jan. 28 in Pittsburg.

According to prosecutors, Zion Dutro committed the acts while Glenda Dutro aided the abuse, which occurred at a former home in the 3500 of G Street, and at a home in the 1900 block of Alpha Way, where the arrests were made.

"She was there at the house during many of the sexual assaults," said deputy district attorney Mark Peterson. "There were times she would go to a child and pick them out, so to speak, and say it was time to cuddle with" the defendant.

At least one of six female family members, now in their 20s, approached police after learning the Dutros were considering adopting children from Mexico, police said, prompting an eight-month investigation. Police ultimately contacted all six.

The criminal charges pertain to three of the family members and allege abuse that occurred between 1990 and 1998. That means several of the alleged offenses would have occurred while Zion Dutro was on probation for a 1995 conviction for sexually abusing a female relative.

Zion Dutro was given a three-year suspended prison sentence and three years probation and had to register as a sex offender. He served a total of four days in jail.

The terms of his probation and whether Dutro returned home after his conviction were unknown Friday.

"Typically, the terms of supervision include no contact with the victim, particularly if it was a minor. So in the case where the victim was in the household, you'll have someone who is paroled or sent back on probation to a location other than their home," said Robert Coombs, spokesman for the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "They have to find alternate housing."

Once the sex offender was off probation, however, there would be little authorities could do without suspecting another crime, and without a victim or other guardian coming forward and perhaps seeking an order, Coombs said.

"Frankly, if this guy was returned to his home, I suspect (the) other guardian was not actively pursuing that," Coombs said.

Peterson said more charges may follow. An accusation was made in 2003 but the alleged victims declined to speak to investigators. Police believe the victims were coerced into silence with claims that the police were "a test from Satan."

Edward Dutro, father of Zion Dutro, became estranged from his son after the 1995 conviction. He said Zion Dutro had promised to right himself but started to lose faith after his son kept the children from spending time with him and his wife.

"It was very confusing for my wife and I," he said. "Why he kept taking them away, why he wouldn't let them come over and visit us. He made us out to be the devil."

The shiftiness eventually caused him to break off contact. "He wasn't part of our family anymore," Edward Dutro said.

Zion Dutro, born Bruce Allen Dutro, is a Bay Area native who ran away from his Pinole home when he was about 16, his father said. When he resurfaced, he had changed his name and was married to the woman now charged alongside him.

Neighbors and parishioners at Cavalry Open Bible Church in Antioch said the Dutros were always together and active in church activities, including missionary work in Mexico. Zion Dutro's criminal past was known, but enough time had passed that some either didn't believe it or thought that he had long been rehabilitated.

"I had heard that but I wasn't sure it was true," said Linda Guerra, a parishioner at Cavalry. "In all these 10 years that I've known him, nothing to my knowledge has happened."

His father was more skeptical about his son's religiosity.

"Church was a ruse to make him look like a good person," Edward Dutro said.

Staff writers Hilary Costa and John Simerman contributed to this story. Reach Robert Salonga at 925-943-8013 or Reach Malaika Fraley at


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