Restaurateur accused of rape denies all charges
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 12/16/19 - 12:40 PM | 1759 views | 2 2 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Daniel Dorado adamantly denied Wednesday (Dec. 11) he sexually assaulted any of the eight women who either met him at his former La Jolla restaurant or on online dating services.

Dorado, 61, told the eight-man, four-woman jury that all sexual activity was consensual. He also denied putting any substance into the alcoholic drinks he gave the women. He denied having sex with them while they were unconscious. 

"They weren't sexually assaulted," said Dorado. "They were very aware of where they were and their choices."

"You're completely insulting," said Dorado to Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto under cross examination when asked if he had made faces or stared intently at the women who testified against him.

"I was intently listening. I told the truth from the minute I took the witness stand," said Dorado. "I'm telling the truth." 

The jury has Friday off and closing arguments are scheduled for Monday, Dec. 16, when the trial goes into its third week. The jury is expected to start deliberations on Monday after hearing instructions from San Diego Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers.

Some of the women testified they met Dorado at Voce Del Mare on La Jolla Blvd. before the restaurant closed after his arrest on March 28, 2018. One woman met him as a restaurant customer and others met him during job interviews or online dating websites in alleged incidents in 2009, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018.

Most of the women, who were aged 22-57, testified they became severely intoxicated after drinking wine or champagne given to them by Dorado. Some said they woke up and discovered they were naked inside the restaurant, in hotels in La Jolla, or in his residence in Solana Beach. 

Police and investigators did not find any type of date rape drugs or chemicals at the restaurant, his home, or at hotels he stayed. A hospital worker found one woman had taken a strong cough medicine that should not be taken with alcohol, but that woman said she never took it. 

A 42-year-old woman testified Dec. 9 she was not sexually assaulted by Dorado and that she willingly spent the night with him in a hotel. She recalled police telling her she had been sexually assaulted and drugged after she fell in a hotel lobby, but she didn't believe it and did not consider herself a victim. 

Rogers repeatedly told Dorado to listen to the questions posed by Coto and directed him to answer her specific questions. He was asked repeatedly if the victims were lying, and he finally said "yes" to that question.

Dorado said the women flirted with him. "She was interested in being alone with me," said Dorado to his attorney, Kim Santini, about one woman. "She initiated the physical contact."

One woman testified Dec. 6 she voluntarily offered to perform oral sex on him because she was on her period and did not wish to have sexual intercourse with him. She described her offer as "a bargain, so we didn't have sex."

That woman testified she was intoxicated after drinking eight glasses of wine when she offered to perform oral sex. She recalled waking up while on Dorado's lap. She also said she did not consent to him performing digital penetration on her. 

Several women testified Dorado bit their breasts, something he strenuously denied. "Biting someone's breast—I do not do that. You don't use your teeth as suction," he told Coto.

"I do not bite women's breasts. I give women's breasts attention," said Dorado.

He denied forcing a 57-year-old woman into performing oral sex, saying she was lying about it being forced. "We were enjoying ourselves," said Dorado.

He said another woman "initiated the sexual contact," and she had forced his hand to touch her vagina.

Dorado wore business suits each day of his trial and often took notes. He posted $900,000 bond in Sept., 2018.

"I'm still in shock at being arrested. I had no idea," said Dorado, who added that police didn't tell him what the charges were until his "interrogation."

The 42-year-old woman who testified she was not a victim said she didn't like the way police contacted her. She had been visiting with Dorado and after driving away, she was pulled over and put into a police car. She said she didn't know where her car keys were after they were taken from her. 

"I saw Dan in a police car," she said, adding she saw him after the officer drove her past Dorado's home.  

She said officials tried to pressure her into filing a restraining order. Alana Harrell, an employee with the DA's victim assistance program, testified the woman "was terrified" when she talked with her. 

Dorado has pleaded not guilty.

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