Former tutor pleads guilty to sexually assaulting Westport student
STAMFORD — A former tutor who preyed on a Westport student has pleaded guilty to sexual assault and will spend two years and eight months in jail.
Juan Torres, 42, of Waterbury, pleaded guilty Tuesday in state Superior Court in Stamford to felony second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a child and third-degree possession of child pornography, which were pictures he took of the girl naked.
Torres faced the possibility of decades in jail after being charged with 21 counts of felony second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a child and employing a minor in an obscene performance. Torres instead accepted the plea deal on Tuesday morning when his three-day trial was set to begin.
Torres made the pleas under the Alford Doctrine, which allows him to disagree with the state’s facts of the case, namely that he had sex with the girl who was 14 when the incidents began in 2015. By making the plea under the Alford Doctrine, Torres was also stipulating that he would likely have been convicted at trial even though he disagreed with the facts of the case.
Torres will spend 20 years on probation after serving his jail sentence. During that time, he could be made to serve a suspended seven years and four months in jail if he violates his probation by breaking the law.
Stamford State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo, who was about to take the case to trial with Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Nemec, said the plea agreement was a positive outcome.
“The victim was pleased with the disposition,” Colangelo said. “We were ready to proceed and the defendant took the opportunity to avail himself of the plea. The victim is understanding and accepting of that plea.”
Defense attorney Ioannis Kaloidis and Torres declined to comment on their way out of the courtroom. Kaloidis later said Torres has always maintained his innocence and refuted what the victim told police.
“But he recognized that there was a good chance he would be convicted, and we elected to take this offer rather than risk a more serious sentence,” Kaloidis said.
The victim, who apparently was ready to take the stand against her former tutor, watched Torres make his guilty plea with little show of emotion.
Judge John Blawie told Torres that he should have his affairs in order and be prepared to begin serving his sentence when he returns to court for sentencing on Sept. 13. Blawie told him that he risked a 25-year sentence — the maximum the law allows for the three charges to which he pleaded guilty — if he did not show up in court to begin serving his jail sentence. Torres has been free on $75,000 bond following his September 2017 arrest.
The Westport police investigation into Torres began in August 2017 when a 17-year-old Westport teen told her mother that she had been sexually abused by her tutor.
The girl said she did not realize what he had done to her until she attended a sexual assault seminar in college. The girl became upset and contacted her therapist and disclosed that her piano and academic tutor had sex with her many times, according to Torres’ seven-page arrest affidavit.
The girl came home from college and told Westport police that Torres began assaulting her when she was 14 years old, the affidavit said. The girl told police they began their weekly sessions by kissing and masturbating each other, the affidavit said.
She said Torres took nude pictures of her and she took similar ones of him, the affidavit said. The girl said the tutoring sessions only consisted of sexual activities.
The girl also said that when their emotional bond became stronger, she told her mother that she needed more help in school and convinced her to increase sessions with Torres to three times a week, the affidavit said.
The teen told police that she had sex with Torres at least 10 times, the affidavit said. She said that Torres, who was being paid $2,500 per month by her mother, even introduced her to his wife and his 16-year-old daughter, the affidavit said.
In one of seven letters the girl gave to police, Torres expressed his love for her.
“You are beautiful, awesome, loads of fun and I look forward to connect again. Thx for those sweet words yesterday. I so needed to hear ‘I am so freakin in love with you’ cause it totally lines up with how I feel for you. Hope to hold you again,” the letter said, signed with a heart symbol, according to the affidavit.
The teen told police that when she looked back on her relationship with Torres, she realized that he stopped her from being a teenager or doing more things with friends, the affidavit said. She said Torres was controlling and told her who she could hang out with, according to the affidavit.
When she began dating a boy her own age, she said Torres became angry and threatened to end their relationship, the affidavit said.