US

Pediatrician Indicted on Charges Including Child Sex Abuse as 15 Alleged Victims Emerge

By Zachary Stieber

A Maryland pediatrician was indicted on 65 charges including child sex abuse after being accused of rape.

Dr. Ernesto Torres was indicted on nine counts of child sex abuse, 10 counts of sex abuse of a minor, 43 counts of third-degree sex offense, two counts of second-degree sex offense, and one count of second-degree assault, the Frederick Police Department said.

Torres was arrested on May 20 after a grand jury returned the indictments on May 17 following charges filed on May 3 including second-degree rape, second-degree assault, and a fourth-degree sex offense.

According to that indictment, Torres sexually assaulted an 18-year-old girl during an examination at his medical practice.

Torres was released on $100,000 bond after the first indictments were announced despite prosecutors requesting he be held without bond because he “poses a significant threat to the public.” A bond review for the additional charges was scheduled for Tuesday.

Twelve victims had contacted the police and three more recently came forward. Officials said even more may come forward after a press release was issued in Spanish asking victims to contact the authorities.

“From the sheer number [of calls] that we had last time, we’re now working with one of our local partners to get [our release] translated into Spanish, as well, because if there are any other victims we definitely want to know about it,” Michele Bowman, a Frederick police spokeswoman, told the Frederick News-Post prior to the release.

“He had a lot of patients who came to him because he spoke Spanish and we know it’s a very tight-knit community.”

That release was circulated on Monday.

Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith told WTOP that all of the victims are female and were between the ages of 11 and 18 when the alleged abuse took place. In some cases, he said, parents or colleagues of Torres were present when the abuse happened.

Some of the victims told parents that Torres was touching them in a way that made them uncomfortable but the parents didn’t believe them.

“They had trust and faith in Dr. Torres. They felt like maybe it was just part of the exam and the young girl was misunderstanding what was occurring,” he said.

But the father of the 18-year-old believed her, Smith noted.

“The incident occurred in April, and the young lady reported it right away to her dad. Her dad contacted the Frederick Police Department, and they conducted the investigation,” he told CBS Baltimore.

According to the News-Post, Torres is 68 and has been a doctor in Frederick since 1979. Most of his patients were Spanish-speaking. According to CBS, he is the only doctor at his business.