By Melody McDonald
FORT WORTH, Texas – A Texas man who exposed his estranged wife’s alleged affair with a Fort Worth police captain on the reality TV show “Cheaters” has been sentenced to probation for violating a protective order.
Rafael Gutierrez Jr., 42, reached a plea bargain agreement on Tuesday and was sentenced to three years deferred adjudication probation for violating a protective order when he showed up at Maria Gutierrez’s work with the “Cheaters” crew on May 4, 2005.
Deferred adjudication means if Gutierrez successfully completes his probation, there will be no finding of guilt and a conviction will not appear on his record, although the arrest will remain.
Gutierrez also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to 15 days in jail for assaulting his estranged wife on Feb. 22, 2005 in Grand Prairie, a Fort Worth suburb. As part of the plea bargain, a second assault that occurred two days earlier was dismissed.
The couple has since divorced.
Prosecutor JoAnn Pearce, who handled the plea with Sean Colston, declined to comment on Wednesday because criminal cases against the Cheaters crew are pending and scheduled to go to trial next month. Rafael Gutierrez’s defense attorney, Ernie Bates, was in court on Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.
According to court documents, after her husband assaulted her in February 2005, Maria Gutierrez moved out of the home, filed for divorce and got a protective order which, among other things, prohibited her husband from going to her place of work.
After she left, officials said Rafael Gutierrez hired a private investigator who filmed Maria Gutierrez and Fort Worth police Capt. Duane Paul engaged in sexual conduct in an unmarked city vehicle on three occasions.
On May 4, 2005, Rafael Gutierrez, with a “Cheaters” TV crew in tow, confronted his estranged wife about the alleged affair outside a Bally’s Fitness Center in Arlington, Texas, where she worked.
In the footage, Maria Gutierrez can be seen talking on a cell phone when she is surprised by Rafael Gutierrez and the TV crew. With her husband hovering over her and yelling at her in English and Spanish, Maria Gutierrez tried to go back into the fitness center but was blocked by the Cheaters security guards.
Maria Gutierrez, attempting to summon help on her phone, tried to re-enter Bally’s but was once again blocked by the security guard.
She later shouted “don’t hit me” after it appeared that her husband was attempting to grab her arm.
A co-worker eventually helped her get back inside.
Gutierrez was later arrested for violating the protective order. Not long after, four members of the “Cheaters” crew – who claimed they did not know the woman had a protective order against Gutierrez – also found themselves in legal trouble in connection with the incident.
A Tarrant County grand jury indicted Joey Greco, the host of “Cheaters,” and Hunter Carson, the episode’s director, on charges of assault with bodily injury, unlawful restraint and hindering apprehension. Walter Earl Woods, 36, and Thomas Daniel Gibbons, 19, security guards contracted by “Cheaters,” were indicted on charges of assault with bodily injury and unlawful restraint.
The men are scheduled to be tried together on Nov. 6.
Paul, the officer captured on the tape with Maria Gutierrez, was later demoted from captain to lieutenant.
© 2006, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
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