By Paul Teetor

‘Mystery victim’ present in court to support Costa assault suspect

by Paul Teetor

Charles De Torres, the Mira Costa High School student arrested and charged last month with assault and making threats on campus, was in court Friday asking a judge to lift a restraining order that would allow him to return to campus.

Judge Laura Ellison continued the preliminary hearing to May 23 to allow time for a court-ordered psychological evaluation of De Torres. De Torres was released from the Twin Towers jail in Los Angeles last month after posting $200,000 bail.

De Torres and his lawyer, Robert Courtney, declined to comment on the case as they left court.

"Not now, maybe later," DeTorres said.

But in a surprise twist Friday morning, a young woman who accompanied DeTorres said that she is one of his alleged victims.

"I’m supposed to be one of the victims, but I’m here to support him. I’m telling you he didn’t do it," the young woman said before declining to elaborate or to identify herself.

A man who identified himself as DeTorres’ stepfather said he was anxious to talk about the case but could not do so until it is resolved.

During Friday’s preliminary hearing, Courtney said he hopes the case does not go to trial.

"I hope we can resolve this matter at the preliminary stage," Courtney said.

For now, he said, De Torres is being home schooled. But he would like to resume his education at Mira Costa.

"I know there is a restraining order, but I feel confident from reading the preliminary psychological report that there is no danger," Courtney said. "He would like to go back to school. His intention was to go to UC Riverside, but he had to finish his Spanish class by June."

In order for De Torres to return to Mira Costa, Judge Ellison would have to lift one of the bail restrictions, which prevents him from having contact with witnesses.

Courtney said his client’s behavior has been spotless since his release from jail.

"There have been absolutely no incidences of contact with any witnesses involved in the case," he said. "And Charles has the support of the Mira Costa faculty. The problem is that it is almost impossible to attend Mira Costa and not run into witnesses."

De Torres was arrested on March 13, a week after witnesses first reported that he threatened and then assaulted two girls.

"I would note that the incident happened on March 7, and the arrest wasn’t made until March 13 and nothing happened in all that time," Courtney said.

In addition to continuing the preliminary hearing to May 23, Judge Ellison also set a hearing date of April 25 to consider De Torres’ request to lift the restraining order. De Torres does not have to be in court for the hearing, only his attorney does. ER