In a written opinion released on July 7, 2021, Frederick Circuit Court Judge Julie Stevenson Solt ruled that Ernesto Cesar Torres, age 70, of Frederick, Maryland is incompetent to stand trial. In December 2019, Dr. Ernesto Torres was charged with ninety-eight counts of sexual offenses against nineteen separate juvenile victims from July 2, 2001 to April 29, 2019. A hearing was held before Judge Solt on June 23, 2021 to determine the Defendant’s competency. Competency is defined as a defendant’s capability to assist counsel in preparing a defense and to understand the nature of the proceedings.
The State’s expert psychiatrist, Dr. Danielle Robinson, of the Maryland Department of Health opined that the Defendant was competent to stand trial. However, the Defendant’s psychiatrist, Dr. Christiane Tellefsen, disagreed and believed the Defendant remains incompetent due to a delusional disorder and belief in an “Evil Black Witch.” The Court concluded that each opinion is equally possible and therefore could not conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Defendant is presently competent to stand trial.
The Court ordered that Dr. Torres continue to be held in an appropriate hospital under the supervision of the Department of Health. Further, the Court will review competency again in 90 days and hold subsequent annual reviews.
In reaction to the ruling, State’s Attorney Charlie Smith commented, “It’s very frustrating that these countless victims won’t be able to confront the Defendant and have their day in court. It often provides some closure and assists in the healing process. With this ruling, that avenue is closed. We still feel strongly that he is competent and fully understands the abuse that he inflicted.”
On May 3, 2019, Dr, Torres was indicted by a Grand Jury of Frederick County, Maryland in the Circuit Court for Frederick County, with one count of rape-second degree, one count of sex offense-fourth degree, and one count of assault-second degree. Dr. Torres was tried before a judge during a three-day trial, after which he was acquitted of the rape charge but found guilty of the fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault counts.
As a result, the Maryland State Board of Physicians, Board Disciplinary Panel B, entered an Order on June 8, 2021 suspending Dr. Torres’ Maryland medical license, concluding “that Dr. Torres’s convictions for fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault are crimes involving moral turpitude” requiring the suspension.
If you or a loved one may have been harmed as a result of sexual abuse by a physician in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your physician sexual abuse medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a physician sexual abuse medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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