Del Mar TV: Please join me and attorney Meredith Levin as we analyze the Daniel Dorado trial, where a 61-year-old former La Jolla restaurateur and businessman was charged with sexually assaulting eight women, ages 22 to 57, over a nine-year period. The jury found him guilty of 20 felony counts of sexual assaults upon intoxicated or unconscious women. Dorado met some of the women at his Italian restaurant Voce Del Mare in the upscale area of La Jolla, when they responded to employment advertisements he had placed. Others he met through on-line dating services. During the trial, the prosecutor told the jury Dorado didn’t just have a pattern and a plan, but a formula to find vulnerable women and to have a special drink waiting for them, either a glass of wine or a pink drink in a martini glass. This special drink quickly rendered them unusually intoxicated, feeling heaving, drowsy, and ill. Ultimately, they became incapacitated, many losing consciousness for periods of time before awaking without memory. Those women who awoke briefly found themselves being sexually assaulted before falling back into darkness. We look at the specific facts of the case and discuss ways to protect yourself when there is a predator among us.

 

To learn more about this case, please read my story on my website:

A Mystery Drink Awaiting: La Jolla Restaurateur Sexually Assaulted Women, But Did He Drug Them First?

Here is the beginning of my story:

“It was the ultimate act of control. Assaulting a woman who can’t resist,” said Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto as the trial of Daniel Dorado came to a close in the San Diego courtroom of Judge Charles Rogers on December 17, 2019. The 61-year-old former La Jolla restauranteur was charged with sexually assaulting eight women, ages 22 to 57, over a nine-year-period. Coto told the jury Dorado didn’t just have a pattern and a plan, but a formula to find vulnerable women and to have a special drink waiting for them, either a glass of wine or a pink drink in a martini glass. This special drink quickly rendered them unusually intoxicated, feeling heaving, drowsy, and ill. Ultimately, they became incapacitated, many losing consciousness for periods of time before awaking without memory. Those women who awoke briefly found themselves being sexually assaulted before falling back into darkness. Because it created no memory, there was no accountability which meant he could do it “again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again” declared Coto as she displayed a photograph of each victim with every recitation of “again.”

Dorado met some of the women on “his own turf” at his Italian restaurant Voce Del Mare in the upscale area of La Jolla, when they responded to employment advertisements he had placed. Others he met through on-line dating services. The prosecution asked the jury to find Dorado guilty of 35 felonies, charges including assault with intent to commit rape, rape of an unconscious person, and rape of an intoxicated person.

Dorado’s defense attorney, Kim Santini, proclaimed in her opening statement there was no evidence any of the women were given a date rape drug and pronounced the case the result of an overzealous district attorney and detective. They have “nada, zip, nothing regarding a date rape drug,” Santini stated forcefully. Instead, the case was about alcohol she insisted, explaining the intoxicating effects stemmed from women voluntarily imbibing large quantities of alcohol and from mixing various forms of liquors. All sexual activity was consensual and at least one woman had a financial motive as Dorado was a successful restauranteur, real estate owner, and businessman in car dealership promotions.

The “mysterious pink drink” was a cosmopolitan, a mixture of vodka and cranberry juice, and was Dorado’s favorite drink, which he offered freely to all Santini explained. In fact, Dorado gave every restaurant patron a free drink, either a glass of champagne or wine, as he possessed a generous spirit and wished to build further goodwill. “He is the ultimate host. The life of the party in social situations,” she maintained, before declaring Daniel Dorado not guilty of any of the acts.