Fort Worth

Bar owner accused of rape says bond conditions prevent him from earning a living

A former owner of The Library Bar who stands accused of raping a passed-out woman inside the business after hours is asking a judge to lift some of his bond conditions because they’re preventing him from making a living.

A judge had tightened Israel Espiricueta’s bond conditions in September, requiring that the 42-year-old man wear a GPS monitor and stay out of bars and strip clubs — including his own bar unless it was after business hours. The special conditions had been put in place after social media posts alleged Espiricueta had been seen visiting Fort Worth bars.

On Tuesday, Espiricueta’s defense attorney, Brandon Barnett, filed a motion asking that his client’s bond conditions be modified.

“Specifically, the curfew and the electronically-monitored prohibition from entering establishments where alcohol may be served are problematic,” Barnett wrote in the motion. “These conditions prevent Mr. Espiricueta from earning a living. Thus, his ability to adequately fund his defense remains compromised by these unreasonable conditions of bond.”

Barnett argued that, under Texas law, pre-trial bond conditions must be reasonable, secure the defendant’s appearance at trial and protect the safety of others.

Barnett pointed out that Espiricueta has no prior criminal history and has never had his bond forfeited or failed to appear at court appearances or supervision meetings. Texas Secretary of State records show Espircueta is no longer listed as a managing partner of the limited liability company that owns The Library.

“Mr. Espiricueta has abided by the strenuous conditions of bond for over eight months,” he wrote.

Espiricueta has been free on bond in the Tarrant County case since his February 2018 arrest in Austin.

He is accused of raping a woman in December 2017 who had passed out inside the downtown Fort Worth bar at 611 Houston St. after hours. Fort Worth police say the encounter was caught on the bar’s surveillance cameras.

Asked whether prosecutors plan to fight the request to modify Espiricueta’s bond conditions, Samantha Jordan, a spokeswoman with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office, said the office does not comment on pending cases.

A trial date is set for August.

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