Crime and Public-Safety News: April 5 — Voce Del Mare owner pleads not guilty to rape charges; motorist crashes on La Jolla Mesa Drive; and other police reports


Voce Del Mare owner pleads not guilty to rape charges

During a court appearance on April 2, the owner of Bird Rock’s Voce Del Mare Italian restaurant, Daniel Dorado, pleaded not guilty to felony charges of sexually assaulting four women, at least three of whom were unconscious at the time of the assaults.

Dorado, owner of Italian restaurant Voce Del Mare at 5721 La Jolla Blvd., was charged with 14 felonies including three counts of sexual battery by restraint and three counts of rape of an unconscious person, according to Deputy District Attorney Katherine Flaherty. Dorado faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors released few details about the charges, saying only that one of the incidents allegedly occurred at the 61-year-old’s restaurant and that the others happened elsewhere. The crimes were reported in 2009, 2015, 2017 and 2018, Flaherty said.

Dorado’s attorney, Dan Greene, said his client “was completely stunned and taken aback” by the allegations against him. “Mr. Dorado is saying he’s never drugged anyone, he’s never raped anyone, he’s never been involved in these quite serious allegations,” Greene said. “These are very serious crimes and what he’s asked for is to have his day in court. He wants to be able to defend his good name.”

San Diego Superior Court Judge Maureen Hallahan ordered Dorado to stay away from each of the alleged victims while the case was pending. She also set Dorado’s bail at $900,000.

“The People consider him a danger to society based on four different victims complaining of similar assaults over the course of nine years,” Flaherty said of the high bail amount.

Dorado has no known criminal history. He was arrested Wednesday morning (March 28) at his Harmony Grove home, just outside Escondido.

10News reported police were at the location the day he was taken into custody. The television station also reported a woman said Dorado gave her a glass of wine during a job interview, and the next thing she remembered was waking up naked with the man. She told the station she had gone to the police at the time of the incident three years ago.

When asked whether Dorado may have had other potential victims, Flaherty said the San Diego Police Department is investigating a number of leads. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Choral director suspended for relationship with student

Patrick Walders, director of choral studies at San Diego State University, who recently debuted as the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus’ new choral director (replacing the retired David Chase), has been on paid suspension from his teaching duties for more than a year as school officials investigate a complaint stemming from an alleged sexual relationship with a female student, an investigation by The San Diego Union-Tribune has found.

Walders continues his work outside the university, and as choral director at LJS&C.

Diane Salisbury, executive director of the LJS&C, told the Union-Tribune: “The management and board of the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus are aware of the allegation, understand it is being investigated and are awaiting the decision of SDSU so we can determine what action we will take, if any. The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus takes all such allegations seriously. In the meantime, the work of the LJS&C continues as usual.”

Speeding motorist crashes on La Jolla Mesa Drive

Three cars were severely damaged after a speeding car crashed into two parked cars around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29 on La Jolla Mesa Drive. One of victims with car damage spoke to La Jolla Light on the condition of anonymity, to detail the incident. The victim said the driver was in a new Dodge Challenger Demon, touted as one of the fastest quarter-mile cars and having drag-racing capabilities.

“The driver was speeding and braking uphill, supposedly lost control, smashed into two parked vehicles and totaled all three. … (The car) ended up spinning out of control and facing downhill,” the victim said. “The police told me that they’d send a traffic officer to start using radar on this road. There are people walking, running, cycling, walking their dogs, babies in strollers (on this road).”

Two rescued from Box Canyon

Lifeguards and firefighters worked together on two cliff rescues in the Box Canyon area of La Jolla on Friday, March 30.

At about 12:15 p.m., crews from San Diego Fire-Rescue helped a 20-year-old woman who had fallen and injured her hand. She was carried out on a litter and did not need to be transported to the hospital.

Lifeguards also helped a second 20-year-old woman who also fell, but was not injured. She was walked out using a rope set-up and released at the scene after being evaluated by medics.

La Jolla senior reports phone tax scam

A La Jolla woman in her 80s, who wanted to alert other senior citizens, called La Jolla Light on April 3 to report a phone call she received, which she recognized as a tax scam.

“Last week,” she said, “a gruff voice” identifying himself as an IRS agent, demanded money related to her tax filing.

“I have a very trustworthy professional who does my taxes, so I knew this was a scam,” she said. “So I hung up.”

The IRS website acknowledges such incidents and warns residents: “Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a gift card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an ‘urgent’ callback request.”

If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. For more details, visit

Police Blotter

March 18

Vehicle theft, 1100 block Loring St., 3 p.m.

March 24

Assault, 7300 block La Jolla Blvd. 2:30 p.m.

March 25

Residential burglary, 5900 block Camino de la Costa, 11:06 a.m.

March 26

Residential burglary, 8000 block Calle de la Plata, 12:30 p.m.

Disorderly conduct, alcohol, 6000 block Beaumont Ave., 8:42 p.m.

March 27

Vehicle break-in/theft, 6400 block La Jolla Blvd., 9:15 p.m.

March 28

Vehicle break-in/theft, 5400 block La Jolla Blvd., 9:50 a.m.

Petty theft, 800 block Coast Blvd., 5 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 2500 block Torrey Pines Road, 9 p.m.

March 29

Vehicle break-in/theft, 1100 block Torrey Pines Road, 6 a.m.

Vehicle theft, 1000 block Wall St., 2 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 1100 block Tourmaline St., 10:45 p.m.

March 31

Petty theft, 6900 block La Jolla Scenic Drive South, 3:15 p.m.

April 2

Battery with serious injury, 7900 block La Jolla Shores Drive, 11 a.m.