La Jolla restaurant owner accused of rape ordered to stand trial

LA JOLLA, Calif. — A La Jolla restaurant owner accused of sexually assaulting eight women over the past nine years must stand trial on 27 felony charges, including forcible rape and rape of an unconscious or intoxicated person, a judge ruled Thursday.

Daniel Dorado, 59, faces 32 years in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto.

After a two-day preliminary hearing, Judge Michael Groch found that enough evidence was presented for Dorado — the owner of Voce del Mare restaurant in the Bird Rock area — to stand trial.

Dorado was charged in April with sexually assaulting four women, but four more women came forward to say the defendant assaulted them once they saw his arrest on the news, Coto said. She said the victims ranged in age from 22 to 58.

Some of the alleged victims were assaulted at Dorado’s restaurant during job interviews and others were assaulted at hotels and other places after the defendant met the women on a dating website and went out with them, the prosecutor said.

The women told authorities that Dorado would serve them some kind of mixed drink and soon after they would feel a level of intoxication like never before, Coto said.

Prosecutors theorize that the women were drugged and in many cases rendered unconscious, waking up to the defendant having sex with them or otherwise sexually assaulting them.

Dorado will be back in court July 12 for arraignment.