FREDERICK, MD – In a written opinion released this morning, Circuit Court Judge Julie Stevenson Solt ruled that Ernesto Cesar Torres, age 70, of Frederick is incompetent to stand trial. In December 2019, Defendant Ernesto Torres, was charged with ninety-eight counts of sexual offenses against nineteen separate juvenile victims from 7/2/2001 to 4/29/2019. 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 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 today’s 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.”