Pastor Douglas Rivera, who is believed to have broken into a hotel room and sexually assaulted a preteen girl, has turned himself in. Rivera, a pastor at God’s Gypsy Christian Church in Glendale, California, claims he was simply in “the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Accompanied by his attorney, Pastor Douglas Rivera, 40, walked into the Covina Police Department east of Los Angeles on February 11, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. local time. He had posted bail by 2:00 p.m.
Rivera is accused of sexually assaulting a preteen girl at the Vanllee Hotel and Suites in Covina, California on February 7. The Covina Police Department released screenshots from surveillance footage showing Rivera standing outside the Vanllee Hotel on the day of the crime.
Police say he drove through the hotel parking lot until he found a lit room with the drapes open. Rivera then allegedly parked his pickup truck in front of the lit window, which was occupied by two girls, ages 10 and 12.
It was then that investigators say he spied on the two girls through the window and masturbated in his truck. He then allegedly got out of his truck and stood outside their window for more than 30 minutes, pretending to be on the phone.
Police say Rivera then approached the girls’ room. The girls opened the door, thinking it was their chaperone. Rivera allegedly forced his way into the room and sexually assaulted one of the girls before fleeing in his truck.
The girls, who do not speak English, were visiting the U.S. on a school trip from China.
After identifying Rivera in security video footage, the police raided Rivera’s Baldwin Hills house on February 9. They were seen taking boxes of evidence from the home. Police also recovered and towed a pickup truck from his home.
“That video surveillance is totally him,” alleged neighbor Paulette Molina, who claimed she witnessed Rivera painting his truck black with rollers and paintbrushes on February 8. “It was kind of odd,” she added.
Pastor Douglas Rivera Proclaims Innocence
Rivera posted a cellphone video to his now-private Instagram account on February 9. In the recording, Rivera said the accusations against him were a big misunderstanding.
“I did not do nothing wrong. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Rivera.
“Something happened in that hotel, and that’s the simple answer. I am just finished with my lawyer… There is absolutely no truth.
“I love you, Los Angeles. Please keep me in prayer. God will take his truth out. I love you.”
Members of God’s Gypsy Christian Church told police he would be turning himself in on February 9, but he never showed.
He only turned himself in after speaking with his attorney. He quickly posted bail of $280,000. Now that he’s out, the big question is, will be return?
God’s Gypsy Christian Church had been renting space from the Glendale City Church of Seventh-Day Adventists. On February 11, Senior Pastor Todd Leonard released a statement saying Rivera has been barred from entering the campus.
A number of residents who live nearby said that services at God’s Gypsy Christian Church are unlike anything they’ve ever seen. Neighbors alleged that members of the church are often drunk, wild, and confrontational. Many are even afraid of Rivera and did not want to show their faces on TV.