Glendale Pastor Accused of Sexually Assaulting Preteen Pleads Not Guilty

Douglas Rivera allegedly exposed himself to two young girls in front of their hotel room and inappropriately touching one of them.

A pastor from a Glendale church pleaded not guilty Wednesday to committing a lewd act on an 11-year-old girl, who was visiting from China, in a Covina hotel room.

Douglas Rivera, 40, of Baldwin Park, is charged with one felony count each of a lewd act on a child and first-degree burglary with a person present, along with a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure.

He could face up to 15 years to life in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration if convicted as charged, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors say Rivera drove to the Vanllee Hotel and Suites, at 1211 E. Garvey St., and parked his truck in front of a room where two young girls were staying on Feb. 7. Prosecutors allege he exposed himself to the girls before entering the hotel room and inappropriately touching one of them.

The girls had opened the door, believing it was their chaperone, according to police.

Authorities released surveillance video and still shots of the suspect, which they said resulted in numerous calls from people who are part of or associated with God's Gypsy Christian Church. The callers said they believed the man was Rivera, who subsequently proclaimed his innocence in a video shot before he surrendered on Feb. 11 to Covina police, tearfully asking people to keep him in prayer.

"I did not do nothing wrong," Rivera said in the video posted on Instagram. "I was at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Rivera -- who had been free on a $100,000 bond -- was taken into custody at his arraignment at the Pomona courthouse after his bail was increased to $1.1 million.

He is due back in court May 17, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to require him to stand trial.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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