Calif. Pastor Accused of Assaulting Girl Claims Innocence on Instagram - NBC4 Washington
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Calif. Pastor Accused of Assaulting Girl Claims Innocence on Instagram

Surveillance outside the hotel captured the man, believed to be a pastor, on camera

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Pastor Facing Sex Assault Charges

    A pastor facing sex assault charges says he will turn himself in Wednesday, but police say he's on the run. Christine Kim reports for the NBC4 News at 4 on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. (Published Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018)

    A pastor from a Glendale church is being sought by police after authorities say he was caught on camera masturbating outside a Covina hotel before then assaulting a preteen girl.

    Covina police were searching for pastor Douglas Rivera Friday evening after he was set to turn himself in, and never showed up.

    Instead, he posted a video on Instagram where he claimed his innocence.

    "No matter what you see on Insta, keep me in your prayers," Rivera said in the video. "I love you, Los Angeles. God will take his truth out."

    Rivera, who is from Baldwin Park, was accused of assaulting the preteen Wednesday.

    The assault was reported at 8:08 p.m. Wednesday at Vanllee Hotel and Suites, located at 1211 E. Garvey St., according to the Covina Police Department.

    The man, identified by police as Rivera, 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 minors were inside of the hotel room.

    Police said Rivera had masturbated while watching the two minors. 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.

    Police then say he forced his way into the room once the minors opened the door, believing it was their chaperone.

    Rivera was accused of assaulting one of the minors, between 10 and 12 years old, before fleeing in his truck, police said.

    His truck was described as a newer black or dark-colored Dodge 4500 Ram, with a flatbed and a large metal ramp for a tailgate.

    Rivera was to have surrendered earlier but did not show up, according to police. Police believe he is on the run. "It appears to be a stall tactic," said CPD Lt. Ric Walczak. "There's no communication with us."

    Rivera is a pastor at God's Gypsy Christian Church at 610 E California Ave., police said.

    Anyone with information regarding the assault or the suspect was urged to contact the Covina police Detective Ramirez at 626-384-5621, the watch commander at 626-384-5665, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS-8477.

    "We ask for people who might believe he's going to turn himself in to consider the fact that hasn't panned out so far and it's important for this person to be in custody," Walczak said.

    NBC4's Patrick Healy and Christine Kim contributed to this story.