The pastor of a Glendale church surrendered to police in the eastern San Gabriel Valley Sunday — to face accusations that he molested two teenaged exchange students from China at a motel last week — and was then released on bail.
Douglas Rivera was accompanied by his lawyer when he presented himself to police in Covina at 11 a.m., a police sergeant told City News Service.
Earlier, the pastor of God’s Gypsy Christian Church of Los Angeles had been seen by witnesses painting his silver pickup truck black with a paint roller. He also proclaimed his innocence in a video shot while on the lam, and had said he plans to turn himself in next Wednesday.
Rivera was accused of watching two girls through their motel window, performing sex acts on himself, and then breaking into their room to assault them.
Rivera walked into the Covina Police Department, 444 N. Citrus Ave. about 11 a.m., Covina police Sgt. Ray Marquez told CNS. He was released on $100,000 bail in the afternoon.
Rivera had earlier proclaimed his innocence and said he had planned to turn himself in Wednesday.
“I did not do nothing wrong,” Douglas Rivera said in a video, posted on the social media site Instagram. “I was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The 40-year-old pastor tearfully asked people to keep him in prayer and said he had been speaking with a lawyer.
Authorities were seen at Rivera’s Baldwin Park home towing the truck, a Dodge 4500 Ram, that he was seen riding in when the alleged assault was reported. Police said the truck had been painted a different color.
Media images of the suspect led to numerous calls from people who are part of or associated with God’s Gypsy Christian Church of Los Angeles. The callers said they believed the man depicted in surveillance video and still shots was Rivera, the Glendale church’s pastor, Gaumer told The San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
The assault was reported at 8:08 p.m. Wednesday at Vanllee Hotel and Suites, 1211 E. Garvey St. Covina police said the suspect drove through the hotel’s parking lot until he saw a lit room with drapes open and then parked his truck to face the interior of the room, police said.
Two teenaged girls visiting from China on a field trip were inside of the hotel room.
The suspect masturbated while watching the two girls, police said. He exited the truck and stood outside of their hotel window pretending to be on the phone for more than 30 minutes before he walked through the hotel and forced his way into the room once the girls opened the door believing it was their chaperone, police said.
The suspect assaulted one of the girls and fled in his truck, police said.
The girls do not speak English, according to reports from the scene.
Rivera was freed Sunday afternoon after posting $100,000 in bail. He was scheduled to head to court at Citrus Superior Court in West Covina on Wednesday for his arraignment, according to jail records.
–City News Service