SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A former La Jolla restaurant owner convicted of raping multiple women was sentenced on Tuesday to 40 years in prison.
On a live stream to the courtroom while sitting in jail, Daniel Dorado was read his term after several women gave their victim impact statements.
The former owner of Voce Del Mare was found guilty last December on 20 counts related to rape and sexual assault of four victims who were unconscious and intoxicated. ABC10 News broke the story two years ago when he was charged with drugging and raping women, sometimes at his restaurant.
Fighting back tears on Tuesday, one victim described her trauma from meeting Dorado after answering an ad on Craigslist for a hostess position. "Years after the assault, I still don't feel safe going to job interviews in-person, alone. I don't feel safe to do outdoor activities alone. I can't tolerate being around men. Not even family," she stated.
"He is an evil individual," said another woman who added, "I simply went on a date with him and ended up getting sexually assaulted by him for hours in a hotel room where I was unconscious."
One woman who was named as a victim defended Dorado on Tuesday and said that she was even friends with him. She accused detectives of manipulating her to testify against her will and appear confused about a possible assault. She told the judge, "Your honor, Mr. Dorado never raped me. I never went to the police. I never filed a police report. In fact, I declined a restraining order against Mr. Dorado and I told detectives that I did not want to press charges."
Dorado addressed the courtroom and denied any wrongdoing. He added, "I have spoken the truth since the very first day that this all began. I did not skip town. I did not make faces to the accusers. I am still in shock by what has happened." He maintains his innocence and has said that every sexual encounter was consensual.
"The total term of imprisonment is 40 years. I don't mind saying [that] I believe this is the maximum I can impose under the law," the judge told the courtroom. Dorado was also ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution.
ABC10 News reached out to the DA's Office for a response regarding the woman who defended Dorado during the hearing. The DA's Office sent the following statement.
"Today’s comments in open court by the judge, the victims and our prosecutor along with the evidence presented at trial, all support the just result and appropriate sentence in this case."