A pastor accused of sexually assaulting a girl in a Covina hotel pleaded not guilty, officials announced on Wednesday.
Douglas Rivera, 40, was charged with lewd act upon a child, first-degree burglary and indecent exposure, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Rivera allegedly drove to the Vanllee Hotel and Suites on Feb. 7 and parked his vehicle in front of a room where a 10- and 12-year-old were staying. The children were part of a Chinese tourist group, officials said.
Authorities said Rivera masturbated in his truck before going to the room, where he inappropriately touched one of the girls.
The Covina Police Department released surveillance images from the hotel on Feb. 9 and later named Rivera—apparently a pastor at God’s Gypsy Christian Church in Glendale—as a suspect.
Rivera shortly posted a video of himself online claiming innocence, saying he was just at the “wrong place at the wrong time.”
He turned himself in on Feb. 11 and posted a $280,000 bail.
He was scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on May 17.
If convicted as charged, Rivera could face 15 years to life in state prison and lifetime sex-offender registration, according to the DA’s office.