San Diego

Date Rape, Rough Sex Alleged in Sexual Assault Trial of Navy Veteran

A U.S. Navy veteran accused of sexually assaulting a number of women will face a jury when his trial begins early next year, a San Diego judge ruled Thursday.

The defendant, Juan Carlos Cordero, 35, is accused of drugging women and performing sexual acts against the women’s consent.

One of the women who testified Thursday was a former girlfriend of Cordero who relocated to San Diego but broke up with him when she learned he had been accused of rape in another city.

She testified that some sex acts between them were consensual but some were disagreeable, more violent.

She described painful acts that left her bleeding or bruised.

The woman testified she was "choked out" using an iPhone cord, an incident she reported to police in February 2018.

In May, seven months after she had begun dating the defendant, she broke up with him, she said. 

Judge Charles G. Rogers ruled Thursday that prosecutors and eight women offered enough evidence to hold Cordero over for trial.

Over two days, multiple women recalled meeting Cordero (known as JC to some victims) for a date. Some of them met the defendant through online dating websites like PlentyofFish or Craigslist. 

Cordero's dates would consume alcohol or drugs before the sexual assault, San Diego police officials said. 

In some cases, the sexual assault was recorded, police said.

Defense Attorney Dod Ghasseemkhani said he was very confident his client will be acquitted of all charges.

"In trial there will be no evidence presented of toxicologists or experts that would come in and testify any of these girls had any date rape drugs in their system," Ghasseemkhani said.

The sexual assaults occurred within San Diego County between 2015 to 2019, prosecutors said.

The San Diego Police Department said Cordero, a six-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, would approach intoxicated women near bars and nightclubs and convinced them to go with him to his apartment or hotel.

Cordero was arrested by SDPD on March 21 and was being held on $2 million bail. At the time of his arrest, the San Diego Police Department issued a call for anyone who believes they may have been a victim to come forward. 

NBC 7 is not identifying the women due to the nature of the testimony.

The defendant has pleaded not guilty. If convicted on the current charges, he faces up to 32 years in prison. His trial is expected to begin in January.

Cordero is a former wealth management advisor at a Downtown firm. According to online records, he resigned from his position in October 2018 after he was accused of entering trades in discretionary accounts without proper authorization.

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