A judge in Santa Cruz has ruled that a real estate broker will go to trial for charges related to rape.

This week, a judge ruled that Frank DeBernardo, a prominent real estate broker based in Aptos, will face trial on three felony charges related to rape. DeBernardo, who serves as the CEO and broker of the DeBernardo Team in Capitola, was accused in August 2022 of allegedly raping an unconscious woman referred to as “Jane Doe” in court documents. The incident was said to have occurred after a party at DeBernardo’s family home in November 2021. Additionally, a charge of threatening a witness was connected to an alleged incident in December 2021, as outlined in the complaint filed by the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office.

Following a six-day preliminary hearing that concluded on Tuesday, Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Siegel determined that there was enough evidence to proceed to trial. During the hearing, the defense team called Jane Doe to the stand, leading to objections from prosecutor Michael Mahan. Despite objections, Judge Siegel disagreed with the assertion that the woman was not a credible witness.

Frank DeBernardo, 47, who was featured in a cover story for Top Agent Magazine in July 2022, is distinct from a former Soquel High School softball coach with the same name. DeBernardo is identified as the CEO of PORTFOLIŌ Real Estate, with 20 years of experience as a real estate investor and broker. He is noted for generating “over $250 million in real estate sales since 1998,” primarily focusing on luxury properties in Santa Cruz.

A civil lawsuit filed by Jane Doe against DeBernardo is running parallel to the criminal case. The arraignment on the information is scheduled for March 13, with attorneys returning to court for the criminal case.

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