Daniel Dorado was remanded to jail Friday, Dec. 20 minutes after his jury convicted him of 20 sexual assault counts of four women whom he met in his La Jolla restaurant and a dating website.
The jury returns for more deliberations Dec. 30 on remaining charges. The partial verdicts were read because two jurors could not return for more discussions, and they were replaced with two alternate jurors.
The same eight-man, four-woman jury acquitted Dorado, 61, of three counts of sexual assault of a 42-year-old woman who testified she was not raped and willingly had sex with him on Dec. 22, 2017, at a La Jolla hotel.
Dorado, dressed in a suit, deeply frowned upon hearing the verdicts from the jury, which had deliberated four days in a three-week trial. He sat back and hung his head down passively when he heard the remaining verdicts.
After the jury left, Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto asked San Diego Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers to revoke his $900,000 bond and remand him to jail.
"He's been free on almost a million dollar bond," protested his attorney, Kim Santini. "He's been to court, always on time. He wants to work."
"There is no right to bail with guilty verdicts," said the judge.
Dorado took off his coat and unbuckled his belt, as instructed by a deputy sheriff. He put his hands behind him as a bailiff handcuffed him. He was led away to jail.
No sentencing date was set since the jury is still considering remaining charges. Based on the 20 convictions, Dorado could face at least 20 years in prison.
Dorado testified Dec. 11 that all sexual acts with the eight women aged 22-57 were consensual. He denied drugging the women with any substances in their drinks. He said they were lying about being sexually assaulted.
Dorado operated Voce Del Mare, an Italian restaurant on La Jolla Boulevard, from 2011 to Mar. 28, 2018, when he was arrested. The restaurant then closed while he was in jail.
The jury convicted him of six counts of oral copulation with an unconscious or intoxicated person; six counts of rape of an unconscious or intoxicated person; four counts of digital penetration of an unconscious or intoxicated person; and four counts of assault with intent to commit rape.
Seven of the eight women testified they became intensely intoxicated after Dorado served them drinks, and many suspected he had put some type of date rape drug in their drinks. Police could not find any substance or chemical that could cause that condition in the restaurant, his home, or at hotels where he stayed.
Jurors told the judge they were deadlocked on six counts, and Rogers declared a mistrial on those charges. They include four counts involving a woman in an alleged incident in 2014, and two counts involving a woman in which they convicted Dorado of other charges.
Deliberations will resume over the charges involving two other women. One of those women testified she woke up inside the restaurant, and she resisted advances Dorado made. She said her resistance made him angry, and he kicked her out on May 11, 2017.
Jurors told the judge they could not get a video in evidence to work in the deliberations room. A bailiff retrieved a thumb drive, and the prosecutor tried to get it to work on her computer. Rogers assured the jury they would be able to see the video when they return.
The partial verdicts had to be read in open court Dec. 20 because two jurors were leaving the panel and were replaced with alternates. This means they are a new jury, and all deliberations on the remaining counts have to start over.
His attorneys asked for acquittals on all counts. Attorney Eric Youngquist mentioned how one woman was put in a police car before she was questioned about the incidents. "Is that the way you would want to be treated?" he asked.
A 57-year-old woman testified she became very intoxicated quickly, and she woke up to discover she was orally copulating Dorado. She said she had never performed oral sex before even to a previous husband. The jury convicted Dorado of four counts involving that victim in the last incident in January of 2018.
Coto told jurors that Dorado was "a self-described alcoholic." She said the incidents all showed a formula, a pattern of conduct that Dorado engaged in for 10 years.
"A reasonable person would stop putting themselves in that situation, but he's not just any guy," said Coto.
The trial began Dec. 2 with opening statements and testimony. It had been estimated to last two weeks, but it took three weeks.
Rogers asked jurors to consider returning to deliberations in January. But when the jurors discussed when they could come back, they said they preferred to do it after Christmas but before New Year's Day.