‘A specific fetish for forcing himself upon women’: Prosecutors lay out expansive account of the case against Paul Flores
San Luis Obispo prosecutors anticipate that dozens of women will testify about the predatory — and at times violent — sexual behavior of Paul Flores, a San Pedro man charged with the murder of a 19-year-old college student who vanished 25 years ago and has never been found, according to court papers made public Thursday.
In a 43-page document, Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher G. Peuvrelle laid out the most expansive account yet of the case his office has brought against Flores and his father, Ruben Flores, who are charged with murder and accessory to murder, respectively, in the disappearance and presumed death of Kristin Smart in 1996.
Fourteen years ago, police in Redondo Beach were called to a hospital where a woman had come after waking up in a stranger’s bed, naked and with no memory of what had happened.
Peuvrelle filed the motion in an attempt to charge Paul Flores with two rapes allegedly committed in San Pedro in 2011 and 2017. His conduct in those recent assaults, as described by his alleged victims, dovetails with his behavior the night in 1996 that Smart was last seen alive, the prosecutor wrote.
Flores “has a specific fetish for forcing himself upon women especially when they are drugged or inebriated,” Peuvrelle said, “which is exactly the state of Kristin Smart in the early morning of March 25, 1996.”
Smart was last seen leaving an off-campus party for her dorm at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, accompanied by Paul Flores.
The arrest comes nearly 25 years after Smart vanished while walking back to her dorm at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Paul and Ruben Flores have pleaded not guilty and consistently denied having any role in Smart’s disappearance or any knowledge of her whereabouts.
San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Craig B. Van Rooyen ultimately denied the request to charge Flores with the rapes allegedly committed in Los Angeles, although he left open the possibility that Los Angeles County prosecutors could file charges.
Van Rooyen scheduled a preliminary hearing to begin early next month.
According to Peuvrelle’s motion, a parade of women are prepared to testify that Flores, now 44, has displayed a virtually unbroken pattern of predatory sexual behavior beginning in high school, when he was said to have pawed at girls at parties and groped co-workers at a burger stand, until as recently as 2017, when he allegedly raped a semiconscious 20-year-old whom he met at a bar in San Pedro.
The woman told a Los Angeles Police Department detective that she met Flores at a bar called Godmother’s, then ended up at his house, where she woke up to Flores having sex with her, Peuvrelle wrote. She was drifting in and out of consciousness and had not consented to the sex, she told the detective.
Another woman told the LAPD she met Flores at a San Pedro bar called Crimsin in 2011. She agreed to accompany Flores to his house, but remembered slipping in and out of consciousness — “not drunk,” she recalled, but “tired and limp” — as Flores had sex with her on a bed, the motion said. She told Flores he was hurting her, but instead of stopping, he at one point forced a red ball gag into her mouth, according to the motion.
In a letter reviewed by The Times, Los Angeles County prosecutors authorized their counterparts in San Luis Obispo to incorporate these two alleged rapes, which were investigated by the LAPD, into their murder case. Van Rooyen ruled Wednesday against allowing San Luis Obispo prosecutors to try the rapes in the murder case.
After San Luis Obispo detectives served a search warrant at Flores’ San Pedro home in 2020, carrying off computers and other electronics, they found homemade videos on a hard drive that showed Flores having sex with women in various states of consciousness, Peuvrelle wrote. One of the women had a red ball gag in her mouth. Some of the videos, according to the motion, were stored in a file labeled “practice.”
Another file, titled “teendrive,” contained a video that Peuvrelle described as a “rape fantasy video”: A masked man spies on a “school-aged girl,” breaks into her house, holds a cloth over her mouth until she goes unconscious, and rapes her.
In Flores’ home, detectives also found prescriptions for Tramadol and Flexiril, drugs that, when crushed and mixed with alcohol, have an “anesthetic effect” and could cause someone to become “confused and unresponsive,” Peuvrelle wrote.
One woman has told detectives that she met Flores in 2008 at a bar on Artesia Boulevard called the Thirsty Club, not far from where he was living at the time in Lawndale. Flores, she said, offered her a drink of water, after which her memory became “hazy.” She remembered drifting in and out of consciousness as Flores had sex with her without her consent, according to Peuvrelle’s motion.
The woman came to with her face in a mattress and a ball gag in her mouth, which Flores said he had used so “his roommate wouldn’t hear anything,” Peuvrelle wrote. It was not until she saw Flores associated with recent headlines that she came forward and picked him out of a lineup as her assailant, the prosecutor wrote.
Peuvrelle also outlined the anticipated testimony of other witnesses that, in the absence of a body or other substantial physical evidence, prosecutors will draw on to support the charge that Flores killed Smart.
Paul Flores, long described as a ‘prime suspect,’ was taken into custody by San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s officials
A detective, following up on a tip that went neglected for 15 years, interviewed a woman in 2019 who said she was watching television with her boyfriend, Flores and others in 1996 when a commercial about Smart’s disappearance came on.
“I was at a party with this b— and all she did was lead me on,” Flores said, according to the woman, Jennifer Hudson. “I finally had enough of her s—, so I took care of her. I buried her either under or next to the skate ramp out at my place in Huasna,” a community about 20 miles southeast of San Luis Obispo.
Hudson showed detectives in 2020 where the skate ramp was located; a team excavated the area and searched it with ground-penetrating radar but found no remains, according to Peuvrelle’s motion.
In March, investigators obtained a warrant to search Ruben Flores’ home in Arroyo Grande and found traces of human blood in the soil beneath the house’s deck, Peuvrelle wrote. The soil had undergone a “major disturbance,” suggesting someone had dug it up and later put it back, an archaeologist found, according to Peuvrelle.
Ruben Flores, now 80, kept padlocked a door that led to the area beneath his deck, according to a man who rented a room at the house for 10 years, Peuvrelle wrote. Once, the tenant said, a plumber asked to go beneath the deck to fix a leak; Ruben Flores turned him away, saying he would fix it himself.
On Tuesday, San Luis Obispo County authorities arrested longtime suspect Paul Flores along with his father in connection with Smart’s slaying.
The prosecutor also disclosed that authorities tapped Paul Flores’ phone in early 2020, intercepting a conversation in which his mother, Susan Flores, allegedly said: “… the other thing I need you to do is start listening to the podcast,” an apparent reference to “Your Own Backyard,” a podcast that stoked interest in Smart’s disappearance. “I need you to listen to everything they say so we can punch holes in it,” Susan Flores told her son, according to the motion. “Um, wherever we can punch holes. Maybe we can’t. You, you’re the one who can tell me …”
Susan Flores is contesting a subpoena to testify at her son and ex-husband’s preliminary hearing. In an interview this year with the KSBY television station, she described her son as a “scapegoat.”
“They keep trying to find the answers with us,” she said, days after detectives served yet another warrant at her home, “and they keep failing because the answers are not here. It is very simple.”
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