Maryland pediatrician sentenced for sexually assaulting patient

A Frederick, Maryland, pediatrician will spend a year in the county detention center after a judge found him guilty of sexually assaulting a patient.

Ernesto Torres, 69, who has been on house arrest, will get credit for time served, and the state’s attorney’s office confirmed that a judge merged the two remaining charges, sentencing Torres to the maximum for fourth-degree sex offense, which is one year.

When Judge William Nicklas Jr. convicted the doctor on charges of second-degree assault and fourth-degree sex offense after a bench trial in November, he also acquitted the doctor of a rape charge.

The judge ruled that prosecutors were unable to prove that Torres touched the 18-year-old victim’s genitals while conducting an exam for stomach pains.

The acquittal on the rape charge did not sit well for Frederick County State’s Attorney Charles Smith, who called it a verdict “we did not particularly agree with. … I respect [Nicklas] as a judge; I just think he got this one wrong.”

Smith said the judge acquitted Torres on the rape charge in November because he found the doctor did not use force; but Smith said the nature of the sexual abuse was inherently forcible.

Torres was arrested on a charge of second-degree rape and was released in May after posting a $100,000 bond.

Several victims came forward following his arrest, all of whom were girls between the ages of 11 and 18 when the abuse occurred, according to Smith.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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