Moreno Valley school board member Mike Rios plead not guilty to nearly a dozen charges, including rape and pimping. Jacob Rascon reports.
A Moreno Valley school board member pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges involving running a sex-for-money operation and sexually assaulting two women.
Mike Luis Rios entered his plea during an arraignment on Friday in a Riverside courtroom.
Rios, 42, has also been charged with attempted murder in connection with a separate case that stemmed from a fight with two men at a bar in February.
Rios was arrested Wednesday night outside his Moreno Valley home and was booked into the Riverside County Jail with bail set at $500,000.
He's charged with 11 felonies, including two counts of rape by force or fear of two adults.
He is also charged with three counts of pimping and six counts of pandering, which accuses him of persuading or encouraging four women and two underage girls to work for him as a prostitute.
Rios was previously charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of dissuading a witness.
In that case, Rios is accused of firing a gun at two people outside his house in February. Neither victim was hit.
The shooting happened as the result of a fight Rios had earlier in the evening at a bar, officials said.
Rios posted the $250,000 bail to get out of jail four weeks ago in that case.
A felony settlement conference in that case is scheduled for April 29.
Rios, who remains a member of the school board, told the Riverside Press-Enterprise in a phone interview from jail Thursday that someone was falsely accusing him of crimes to prevent him from running for Moreno Valley City Council.
“The cops are using this ... they're answering to other political people,” he told the paper. “This is a political assassination on me.”
Because the current charges against Rios allegedly involve underaged victims, the school board at its next meeting on Tuesday will discuss seeking a restraining order against Rios and could officially ask him to resign, school district Superintendent Judy D. White said in a statement.
The board will also discuss an emergency resolution to ban any board member who’s been arrested for crimes against minors from entering campuses or taking part in school activities.
The board is prohibited by law from removing a colleague from the panel. It can only ask for a member's resignation, officials said.