Biddeford police say that a waiter at a Mexican restaurant served free liquor to underage college students in April before sexually touching the women, ages 19 and 20, in the ladies’ room of the restaurant.

Police Chief Roger Beaupre said in a statement Monday evening that Fernando Soriano-Verdis, 38, of Saco was arrested on two Class D misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual contact and one count of assault.

Fernando Soriano-Verdis Photo courtesy of Courtesy York County Sheriff’s Office

Soriano-Verdis, a Mexican national, also was issued nine misdemeanor summonses for serving liquor to minors in violation of state liquor law, the chief said.

Beaupre said Soriano-Verdis was working at the Casa Fiesta Restaurant, at 500 Mariner Way, when the assaults of the two female patrons took place. He was arrested on May 3, but it took Biddeford police another 12 days before they could locate restaurant management to serve summonses for alleged civil liquor violations.

Nine summonses were served by police Monday to an assistant manager at Casa Fiesta, including six counts of allowing minors to consume alcohol on premises, two counts of allowing an illegality to occur on licensed premises – namely the alleged assault and unlawful sexual contact – and delivery of liquor at no charge.

Deputy Chief JoAnne Fisk said later Monday evening that the victims had gathered with other students in the restaurant to celebrate a birthday. Soriano-Verdis served them alcoholic beverages, and when two women went to the bathroom, he followed them into the ladies room, Fisk said.

The legal drinking age in Maine is 21.

Fisk said there were other customers in the restaurant at the time, but she was not sure how many. It was early evening.

“They were not injured, but they were very shaken up,” Fisk said of the alleged victims.

Fisk described the assault as being “contact in the breast area,” which is why the charges are misdemeanors.

Fisk said Soriano-Verdis is now free on bail. He will make his first court appearance June 28 in Biddeford District Court.

According to Biddeford police, the summonses issued to Casa Fiesta do not involve any criminal violations.

The restaurant summonses will be resolved by Maine’s Bureau of Liquor Licensing. If found guilty, Casa Fiesta could face fines of $50 to $1,500 per offense and a loss or suspension of its license to serve alcohol on premises.

A message left at the restaurant Monday night asking for comment was not returned.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: