Police on Saturday continued to search for a pastor linked to the sexual assault of a girl in Covina after the man released a video saying he was innocent and planned to turn himself in.
Police had disseminated surveillance images of a man accused of watching two girls from the parking lot of Vanllee Hotel and Suites Wednesday evening. He allegedly masturbated in his truck before walking inside the hotel, entering the minors’ room, and sexually assaulting one of them.
The Covina Police Department said the children — a 10- and 12-year-old who were visiting as part of a tourist group from China — thought the man who knocked at their door was their chaperone.
The agency later announced detectives were seeking Douglas Rivera of Baldwin Park.
In an Instagram clip posted online Friday, Rivera addressed the camera and denied allegations, saying he was simply at the “wrong place at the wrong time.”
“I did not do nothing wrong. Something happened in that hotel, and that’s the simple answer,” Rivera said in the video. He added that he planned to go to the authorities on Wednesday with a lawyer.
“I love you Los Angeles,” Rivera said. “Please keep me in prayer.”
Covina police said as of Friday, Rivera has not contacted detectives.
In the surveillance footage, a man who appears to be him is seen driving around a Dodge truck, circling the parking lot before stopping in front of the preteens’ hotel room on the first floor. The assault allegedly soon followed.
The church that Rivera worked out was renting space from Glendale City Church, where a senior pastor said there was nothing about Rivera that would indicate he would do such a thing.
“Well, my first things is I’m just heartbroken for any children that would go through a traumatic experience,” said Todd Leonard, a senior pastor at Glendale City Church.
Vanllee Hotel and Suites’ regional operations manager, Raymond Jones, said the hotel planned to hold a news conference at a later time.