Former Lord & Taylor security guard accused of sex assault denied probation program
STAMFORD — A former Lord & Taylor security guard accused of groping a woman while claiming to show employees how to pat down shoplifters will not be allowed to enter a probation program for first-time offenders.
After hearing the emotional and tearful testimony of two sisters, Judge John Blawie ruled Wednesday the effects of Mark Torres’ actions were too serious to allow him into the Accelerated Rehabilitation program that would have wiped the fourth-degree sexual assault charge.
“I cannot make a finding that this crime was not of a serious nature,” Blawie told Torres and his attorney, Stephen DeLeo, before scheduling the former security guard to return to court on Feb. 6.
Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Steven Weiss and the women strongly objected to Torres, 32, being allowed to have his charge erased by participating in the program.
One of the women said Torres used is position as a security guard to lure her into a fitting room where there were no cameras. She said he forced his hands under her bra and into her underwear during the June incident.
“Mr. Torres hurt me very badly, he humiliated me, he damaged my psyche, he cost me my job, he inflicted pain on my whole family,” she said.
The woman’s sister said the night before the incident Torres said he would pay her for a naked massage and said he would teach her how to pat down a shoplifter. The woman testified Torres said you have to reach under a woman’s bra and inside her waistband to check for stolen items. The woman said she ran to another employee to end the conversation.
“I did not tell anyone at work or anyone in my family that night after I got home as I was embarrassed, scared and afraid to lose my job,” she said. “It is only in hindsight that I can say I wish I told my sister so that the sequence of events the following morning may not have occurred.”
The woman said the incident has caused her to see a psychiatrist regularly and take anti-anxiety medication.
DeLeo said his client has a clean record and he is a father of three young children. However, Blawie rejected his request for the maximum two-year probation program.