San Diego

Witnesses Describe Violent Encounters With Man Accused of Sexually Preying on Intoxicated Women

A man accused of sexually assaulting women he approached at bars and nightclubs or met on online dating sites listened as four witnesses gave graphic testimony about their encounter in court Wednesday. 

One of Juan Carlos Cordero's accusers, known in court as the first witness, Jane Doe 1, took the stand during a preliminary hearing on Tuesday to detail the night she says Cordero drugged her and sexually assaulted her after a night in the Gaslamp Quarter. 

She is the first of what is expected to be several women accusing Cordero, known as "JC" to some of his victims, of sexual assaults within San Diego County between 2015 to 2019. NBC 7 is not identifying the women due to the nature of the testimony.

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. He would also meet women on popular online dating networks like PlentyofFish and Craigslist and meet up with them on dates.

SDPD says Cordero would have his victims consume alcohol or drugs before sexually assaulting them. In some cases, he allegedly recorded his victims prior to and during the assaults.

Jane Doe 1 testified that the two were in his apartment, kissing, when he put some MDMA pills into her mouth and forced her to do something she did not consent to. She had an emotional support dog next to her as she described the alleged encounter.

"I said it more than a few times. I said 'No,'" the woman said. The judge asked what her tone was when she said "no." She replied, "I was screaming 'No,' but he just kept going."

She said he punched her in the stomach and, at that point, she gave up trying to fight. She woke up the next morning and felt like she couldn't move, what she said was an effect of the drugs. 

He played a video of their encounter, "to remind me that he had a video of me," the woman testified.  

Cordero's second accuser, Jane Doe 2, said she was 18-years-old when she was sexually assaulted after posting an ad on Craigslist. The two met up in downtown San Diego before going back to Cordero's apartment. 

She said Cordero became assertive, insisting she drink more before a violent sexual encounter. Photos were taken that showed bruises on her breasts and butt. 

The third witness, Jane Doe 3, described a night with Cordero in March 2015. The two met on when she was 18 years old and spent a night together at Cordero's apartment in Los Angeles, the woman said. 

She said she couldn't remember much from the night but woke up to Cordero screaming at her and felt "very out of it." She recalled feeling pain in her pelvic area. 

Cordero offered to drive her home but on the way things turned violent, she testified. She said when her dad called, he grabbed the phone out of her hand and punched her four times in the face. 

The last witness to take the stand Wednesday said the two went out for drinks in Little Italy. The next morning, Jane Doe 4 woke up "not knowing where I was. I was a little bit confused." 

They met up a few more times but the final encounter got violent. 

"Last interaction, he choked me to point I couldn’t breathe and I asked him to stop." She testified that he replied, "He could end me."

The woman decided to come forward after reading about Cordero's arrest online, she said.

"When I read the article a lot of things I questioned were hit on, and things I was unsure of happened to other people and opened my eyes," the witness said. "He did this to younger girls and, as a mother, I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else."

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. 

Cordero's defense attorney is expected to argue that all the encounters in question were consensual. The defendant has pleaded not guilty. If convicted on the current charges, he faces up to 32 years in prison. 

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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