LANCASTER – A 37-year-old woman accused of sexually abusing and helping her husband rape underage girls in their Lancaster home must stand trial on multiple felony charges, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Denya Rohde was held to answer to one count of continuous sexual abuse, one count of oral copulation of a person under 14, three counts of lewd act upon a child, and one count of inducing a child to engage in a lewd act.
The judge’s ruling came after a preliminary hearing in an Antelope Valley courtroom, which included testimony from two victims.
The girls, now 12 and 14 years old, testified that they were sexually abused by Rohde and her husband, Gabriel Lucatero, several times while temporarily staying at the couple’s Lancaster residence with their family. (The time period has been removed to protect the victims’ identities.)
The 14-year-old testified that Rohde would wake her up in the middle of the night and invite her into the couple’s bedroom, where there would be pay-per-view pornography playing on the television.
Rohde’s husband would usually be naked, while Rohde would be dressed in a “skimpy outfit,” the victim testified.
“Sometimes they would make me wear these outfits,” the victim said, adding that Rohde gave her “short skirts and little skimpy tops” to wear.
Rohde usually watched as her husband raped and sodomized the victim, according to court testimony. Rohde sometimes participated, the victim said, going into graphic details about the sexual abuse.
She said the sexual abuse happened about five times a week for a period of about two years. The victim said she did not tell anyone about the abuse because she was afraid of Rohde’s husband.
The victim said she heard Lucatero beating Rohde several times a week, and she feared that if she spoke up, she would suffer a similar fate.
The second victim said she was sexually abused more than five times by Rohde’s husband, while Rohde watched.
“It was inappropriate stuff… really nasty stuff, like grown up stuff,” the 12-year-old victim testified.
She said Rohde invited her into the couple’s bedroom, where she was forced to rub on Lucatero’s “private part” as Lucatero made “weird noises.” Lucatero molested and sexually abused her as Rohde watched, but did not participate, the 12-year-old girl said.
The couple also had sex in front of her, the victim said.
Both victims seemed hesitant to testify, and refused to look at Rohde, even when asked to point Rohde out in the courtroom. Dressed in County jail blues, Rohde wore her blond hair in a high ponytail, adorned with several tiny white ribbons. She looked down and shook her head a few times during the victims’ testimony.
Sheriff’s Special Victim’s Bureau Detective Terry Johnson testified that she interviewed Rohde this past April. Rohde admitted that she would wake one of the girls up in the middle of the night and then watch as her husband raped the girl in their bedroom, Johnson testified. Rohde also told the detective that she orally sexually abused the girl and said doing so “made her feel disgusted,” according to Johnson’s testimony. Rohde said the sexual abuse happened about 25-30 times in her bedroom, and Rohde said her husband threatened to hurt her if she didn’t engage, according to Detective Johnson.
In arguing a motion to dismiss some of the charges, defense attorney Hung Du said Rohde was present under threat of violence but she did not partake in the sexual abuse of at least one of the victims.
His motion was denied and Rohde was ordered to stand trial on all charges and special allegations. Rohde is due back in court July 16 for a second arraignment. If convicted as charged, she faces up to life in prison.
She remains jailed with bail set at $4.5 million.
Rohde’s husband, 47-year-old Gabriel Lucatero, was not in Los Angeles County Sheriff’s custody as of Thursday, July 3. There is a warrant out for Lucatero’s arrest in connection with the case, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The charges filed for warrant against Lucatero include continuous sexual abuse, sodomy of a person under 14, two counts of lewd act upon a child and inducing a child to engage in a lewd act, according to the felony complaint.