Employee arrested for stealing porn off customer’s phone

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Joseph Gonzales, 41, of St. George worked at a telephone store in St. George where he allegedly took liberties with the contents of a customer’s cell phone when she brought it in for service; without her consent, Gonzales transmitted to himself the woman’s personal pornographic images stored on her phone.

Gonzalez was arrested by St. George Police Tuesday morning on charges of felony distribution of pornography.

Joseph Gonzales of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted Aug. 19, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Joseph Gonzales of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted Aug. 19, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

“St. George city police was contacted by a woman who had taken her cell phone into a local cell phone store for an upgrade,” police Sgt. Sam Despain said. “Gonzales was an employee at this store.”

As Gonzales worked on the cell phone, Despain said, he saw some personal and graphic pictures that were on the woman’s phone.

“Mr. Gonzales then proceeded to send those pictures to himself,” Despain said, “without the permission of the owner of the cell phone.”

The woman then went to the police with her concern, telling them what had taken place at the cell phone store.

“Mr. Gonzales was interviewed and subsequently arrested this morning for distributing that material,” Despain said Tuesday.

Gonzales was charged with one count for each image that he sent to himself, amounting to seven counts of distribution of pornography, all third-degree felonies.

According to booking information published by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Gonzales’ total bail is set at $35,000; he has not yet been released.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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62 Comments

  • lp August 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    That takes, umm,…..balls?

  • Mark August 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Post the pornagraphee’s name, I’m sure she has sent those images to lots of people.

  • Dana August 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Moral of the story: Don’t steal someone else’s porn.
    BTW, what’s the name of the store?

    • Bailey August 20, 2014 at 10:01 am

      The name of the store is irrelevant. It wasn’t the store that did this, it was the employee.

  • balance-it-out August 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Do you have to shoot a dog seven times to get even one felony?

    This lady was foolish enough to hand her phone over to strangers when it contained her naked photos.

    To me, this is akin to taking your photos in to be developed and then becoming aghast when somebody keeps a copy. Don’t want your naked photos seen? Don’t take them. Or if you must, don’t hand the data over to the public. But don’t waste our tax money on your retrospective concerns.. unless you like that sort of thing. In which case, SGPD has a job for you in their prostitution entrapment business.

    Animals don’t have the option of protecting themselves in the manner of exercising judgement to the level that this woman has failed at.

    Lessons: Animal murder is preferable to (solicited) perversion. Helpless creatures are still helpless. Stupid creatures are jail-bait.

    p.s. to any pervs feeling they missed their chance – you’ll have another one when this lady donates her old PC to the D.I. Only it won’t cost you (and us) a felony per photo.

    • Meg August 20, 2014 at 4:36 am

      Yes because a phone store worker is a stranger you should never give your phone to if you plan on getting it changed. Judge much.

  • Koolaid August 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Someone must be drinking a pitcher of stupid koolaid to have porn pictures of herself on a phone. For whom were these pictures intended, and how many people had these pictures sent to them? But then, St George prudes probably consider bared shoulders as being pornographic, or lingerie modeled on plastic busts or other displays in one store in the St George mall. How does this impact his and her worthiness? If she’s really hot looking, someone might consider her very worthy but worthy of ????

    • Meg August 20, 2014 at 4:37 am

      Maybe she took them for her husband. Why does it matter who they were for? They weren’t for the store clerk.

      • Bailey August 20, 2014 at 10:05 am

        What he did was wrong. But, come on, you don’t take your phone into a store to upgrade… requesting pictures transfered, knowing you have porn. Sending nude pictures to your husband is still considered pornographic distribution.

  • Koolaid August 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    He probably would want to study those pictures to determine if she goes on Santa’s naughty or nice list.

  • Upgrade August 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    After giving her phone an upgrade, did he offer to service her, too?

  • MickeyD August 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    You have no idea what she intended. People upgrading to a new phone do not anticipate that the salesman will see and browse through all of their photos. As for your user name, and the use of whore and bishop in the same paragraph, you are an enigma, and highly unlikely an actual Mormon.

    • Judy August 19, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      I think it is her fault and she knew because it has taken months for her to come forward. …..

    • Carmen August 19, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      I agree! You make an excellent point!

  • Angry August 19, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Why are people attackin this women? Just because she had private photos on her phone this in no way makes her a whore or someone who wanted strangers to see those photos. And who’s to say that she sent them many people. I feel for her. Her trust in a company to hire professional employees has been broken. I know I expect employees to act professionally when intake my phone in to be worked on or upgrading to a new phone. As for the jerk who said she needs to talk to her bishop.. Plenty of Mormans do questionable things. Maybe you should talk to your bishop about you being judgmental and having unholy thoughts.

    • Robb Willie August 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      That person was not a Mormon, just a trouble maker.

      • Ballzac August 19, 2014 at 7:06 pm

        This is a sad perversion of justice (hahaha). No seriously, this man’s life is potentially ruined, if the charges are not dropped. Is this theft, copyright infringement or is it distribution???? The woman gave him access to her phone’s images and he helped himself. There is no proof that he intended to distribute and I am sure distribution was not his intent. Just another example of a pandering local- invoking the bored law enforcement-in order to eviserate someone for a harmless mistake. Typical washco pandering-overbearing law enforement and dispensation of “justice”.

    • Koolaid August 19, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Wasn’t some bishop busted in a prostitution sting?

      • Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz August 19, 2014 at 6:39 pm

        Your comments are boring.

      • KOOLAID August 19, 2014 at 9:34 pm

        My name’s “KOOKAID” and one time, long ago, I was made to feel embarrassed for my immoral and unethical behavior by a Mormon. It wasn’t anything sexual, just something that actually have a conscience would deem as immoral. However, instead of taking responsibility and owning up to my mistake, I took personal offense to it and have now grouped everyone of that particular religion into one whole. Just like how every Asian is really good at math and every white person is a racist. That’s how I think because I can’t separate the individual from the group. It’s a disease I have, and for some reason, I have an addiction of spreading this disease on every story posted by St. George News. I must apologized to you all for my low I.Q. and generalizations. If you would like to assist me in my rehabilitation, please reply to every post I make from hence forth and tell me how stupid I am. I really need to hear it from the masses before it sinks in to my thick skull.

      • GneissRocks August 20, 2014 at 8:07 am

        No, I don’t think there was. Weren’t you arrested and convicted for child sex trafficking?

  • Robb Willie August 19, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Calling BS. You’re no Mormon. You’re just some idiot that likes to stir up trouble.

  • Pfftttt...... August 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    This lady probably made a mistake but….Oh, I`m sorry, I didn`t know you had the authority to judge people, umm is Jesus hiring??

  • Maudie Fricker August 19, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    HAHAHAHA!!!! He was just too tempted (and stupid!)… and she’s an idiot!

  • Meshrow Honna August 19, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Anyone believing it’s ok to have an employee invade your privacy just be cause you are a(what some comments say) …, and have taken nude photos of yourself, then you deserve to have them stolen Is like saying if your black and you rob a store (no matter how small an item) then you deserve to be shot by a policeman or just because your last name is like the accused then your illegally here or if you believe in the idiocy of comments made by KUM BALAnCE KOOl AIDS you are probably a stupid racist. You belong to the KBKA club.
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • Judy August 19, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Concerned it allegedly happened a few months ago. Why is she now going to police? Mostly likely her boyfriend/husband found out so now she is victim. Which lady you are not the victim. If you didn’t want people to see them then maybe you shouldn’t have asked him to transfer your phones. Not only that the other people that worked that day while this allegedly happened said she asked him to. So you the being the chick who is doing this just changed this man life forever. How is he suppose to walk down the street. Without being called names. But you on the other hand poor little victim (not) you get the glory of being a victim (not) what porn site are you on so we can notice you walking down the street in St.George.

  • DITKA August 19, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I BET THE COP ENJOYED THEM AS WELL,AND SENT THEM TO ALL HIS HOMIES!! This city is twisted!!

  • bobber August 19, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    How in the **** is this a felony? Maybe the “woman” was actually 14? … Or maybe Utah actually is that …* up… If she’s actually over 18, can we lock her up for being a dumb …*?
    Ed. ellipses …*

  • Mark Vinclio August 19, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Whats her name SG News you put names of people in car wrecks why not everthing else.. We should also see her facebook page too because there really isn’t privacy for anyone.

  • thebestie August 19, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    It was …
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • Carmen August 19, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I could only wonder if Gonzalez thought these photos were illegal? Perhaps he thought she was a minor or prostitution ring and was going to report it to the police? However, we don’t know the full story. Nonetheless this women has a right to take photos of herself regardless if she’s fully dressed or nude. People take photos of themselves in provocative sexy ways for fun or for love. Perhaps she took these photos for someone special….and that is none of our business! The employee has broken the company policy and confidentiality for their customers, and personally I find that morally illegal. The other concern I have is the way the police went public saying the women’s photos were pornografic material. I don’t believe that was necessary. Who committed the crime was not the women it was the employee from …
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • Gary August 19, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    I’m curious to know just HOW she knew he had copied the pictures.

    • Bailey August 20, 2014 at 10:18 am

      She probably sent them to him herself, then when being caught by her significant other… accused him of stealing them. Maybe he’s the victim???

  • gretch August 19, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    He is charged for sending porn to HIMSELF??? For crying out loud, who cares if he looks at porn???

    Thanks dorky tax dollar spenders.

    Jeeeeze!

  • THAT GUY August 20, 2014 at 12:13 am

    GET A LIFE

  • DAVE August 20, 2014 at 12:54 am

    If Joseph Gonzales is truly guilty of “Distribution of Pornography” – then why doesn’t that law apply to the woman who has the pictures on her phone?

    To be more concise: I am (in no way) defending the actions of Joseph Gonzales. It’s simply that; because the owner of the phone… has the pictures on her phone… that she could also fall under the category “possesses pornographic material with intent to distribute or exhibit it to others”.If pornographic pictures of (yourself) are on (your) phone… A device which is capable of sending those pictures… Wouldn’t THAT be considered “Distributing”? Would it be considered “Possession With Intent To Distribute”??

    • Carmen August 20, 2014 at 8:16 am

      It is only illegal if you are under 18 of age.

      • Bailey August 20, 2014 at 10:19 am

        Porn is illegal in Utah no matter what age. Law was passed not so long ago. Carmen you need to brush up on your facts.

        • curiousgeorge August 20, 2014 at 4:45 pm

          No Bailey your the one who needs to brush up on the laws. Possession of pornography isn’t illegal, only the distribution of pornography is, but don’t let facts get int he way of slamming others!

    • Bailey August 20, 2014 at 10:35 am

      I couldn’t agree more! DAVE

  • Caligirl August 20, 2014 at 1:09 am

    Why is taking nude photos of your self a crime? Who’s to say she sent them to many people? Has anyone stopped to think that these pictures might have been intended for her husband or even taken by her husband/ boyfriend or lover? Maybe these pictures were taken so long ago that she completely forgot they were there, or maybe they were taken on another phone and transferred to the current phone by SD card and there presence slipped her mind. But regardless of how the pictures got there, or who they were intended for and regardless of whether or not she remembered those pics were there, this person had no business going through her pictures on her phone whether or not she was upgrading it having it serviced. If he accidentally stumbled across these pics, then as a professional he should have exited the photo gallery and done his best to continue servicing or upgrading the phone while working
    around those pics. He certainly had no business as a professional or even as a decent human being to copy , forward, send via text message or Bluetooth ect. To him self or anybody else these pictures!! He had no right exploiting this women regardless of how immoral anyone thinks this women is for having nude pictures of herself! He should be ashamed of himself and so should anyone else who says that its the women’s fault he did this!

  • Meg August 20, 2014 at 4:34 am

    First of all she may not even be LDS, she could be married and took them for her husband and forgot to remove them before going in and 2 who …* are you to judge? Based off of your SN sounds like you are one of those self righteous members who thinks they are better than others. Judge not lest ye be judged. It’s called FREE AGENCY. Go back to Sunday School…if you even are LDS.
    Ed. ellipsis …*

    • The Real Koolaid August 20, 2014 at 10:58 am

      Maybe, maybe, maybe… for all you know, maybe she sent them to your guy

  • Mark August 20, 2014 at 8:41 am

    R.W. I say he really is a Moron, I don’t understand did he get in trouble for stealing porn or sending porn? If it was for sending are they going to go through her ph history a to see how many different people she sent pics too and charge her for sending? If so had no idea it was illegal.

  • Matthew Sevald August 20, 2014 at 10:01 am

    A felony?
    .
    What this man did was wrong – legally and morally by taking pictures that weren’t his and were inarguably meant to be private.
    .
    But a felony charge, for “distributing pornography”?
    .
    If found guilty, this man will never be able to vote, own a gun, and will be unlikely to ever hold a decent job again. His life will effectively be over in our litigious society because he made a foolish choice.
    .
    He did not murder anyone. He didn’t leave his baby to die in a hot car (that lady’s not getting charged), he wasn’t running a drug ring, he wasn’t corrupting youth, he wasn’t scamming the tax payers out of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. He copied/texted/emailed someone else’s pornography to himself. This is not felonious behavior.
    .
    We need serious revamping of our laws, particularly in Utah where the predominant religion holds sway over the public through moral policing.
    .
    Again, what the man did was wrong and there should be some punishment for his actions, but not a felony charge. He did nothing to warrant his life being effectively ended.
    .
    And as for anyone looking to claim that the woman was a criminal for possessing the pornography or creating it, I called the Utah Attorney General’s office and got some underpaid, overworked schmuck who refused to answer whether possession of pornography (adult) or creating it was a crime. He said that an “official interpretation of the law” has to come from the Attorney General himself, and that he wasn’t about to do anything except to tell me to “look at the code”. When I pressed that the code was full of legalese double-speak, he deflected saying that it’s both not his job to interpret the law for people and it is every citizen’s job to know the law ahead of time so that they do not break the law. Overall, he was afraid of liability and had no testicular fortitude whatsoever, and told me to “seek counsel” if I wanted to understand the law. What a racket.
    .
    When I asked if the “Pornography Ombudsman” (a position created by law in 2000/2001 stating that “the attorney general will hire a lawyer authorized to practice law in Utah to combat pornography”) would have the answers I was seeking, the lawyer told me it was through the Governor’s office. A call over there left people confused and hurting, and told me that the PO was through the AG’s office. I verified on the AG website and saw the special webpage and phone number for the PO, but was given the runaround by the AG front office who claimed never to have heard of the position. I got transferred to some other AG number and have not yet received contact.
    .
    Moral: Don’t do stupid crap, and government is inept and too big.

    • The Rest Of The Story August 21, 2014 at 10:39 am

      “If found guilty, this man will never be able to vote, own a gun, and will be unlikely to ever hold a decent job again.”

      But if he accepts Joseph Smith as THE TRUE PROPHET and follows the TRUE GOSPEL plan of salvation, pays enough tithes and doesn’t let alcohol touche his lips–or worse, the really hard stuff (…coffee and tea…)–he’ll be able to hold a temple recommend. 😉

  • Bailey August 20, 2014 at 10:32 am

    This world is so naive… just because it’s on the news… it must be true right?! There are ALWAYS 2 sides to every story! The woman could have sent them to him herself, months ago, when they were seeing each other. After fighting, or breaking things off, she is upset and wants to get back at him. Turns him in, not understanding the severity of what she has just done. Completely ruined his life forever! Or, possibly, her significant other caught her sending them to him and she accused him of stealing them from her to cover her own butt. We all need to take this as a learning experience that we should not, under any circumstances, share pornographic photos of ourselves if we want them to remain private. Something can always happen that would make the person that has them share them with the world, or that person’s family for that matter.

  • EL JEFE August 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    All I have to add is……..Amatuer.

  • tinker toys August 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Look at some pics, go to jail. Fry your baby get a fundraiser.

    • Sad but true August 20, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Yep. Funny how these “people of God” deal with things.

      • The Rest Of The Story August 21, 2014 at 10:34 am

        Yeah, I was thinking that too.

  • DB August 20, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Question…Nowhere in the article do I read that this took place months before. Was the article edited or after comment #40 or so, commenters start making things up to suit their purposes?

  • Youareanidiot August 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    You armchair lawyers are hilarious. By hilarious I mean stupid. Probably born and raised here with no sense on how the real world works since you’re in a shell.

  • Bobber August 20, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    her bishop will need to examine the photos to determine if she is worthy.

    • Koolaid August 21, 2014 at 7:45 am

      Did you see the link about the bishop arrested for luring some teen boy? Was that to determine his worthiness?

  • Judy August 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    So the new update on this. Joe Gonzales charges were taken down to theft because they had no evidence proving the charges. Do you think the news paper will print anything. Now that they totally messed this man and his family’s life up.

  • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 21, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    The data plan is for the ignorant man!

  • Call me adam, madam August 22, 2014 at 7:57 am

    A modern day Adam and Eve story were Adam succumbed to sinful tempting fruits of Eve.

    • Dana August 22, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Adam, When are you going to stop blaming Eve for YOUR weakness??

      • Call me adam, madam August 22, 2014 at 5:53 pm

        Never. Women are to blame for everything.

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