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Moreno Valley school board member pimp, rape trial: Opening statements begin

January 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A Moreno Valley school board member used his position with the district to gain the trust of a young woman before asking her to join him in his prostitution business out of his home, the woman testified Wednesday.

Identified in court only as Valery, the woman took the witness stand and said she met Mike Rios more than a year ago when he stopped his white Mercedes-Benz on a Moreno Valley street to talk to her. She said Rios gave her his school district business card and even offered to help her get a diploma.

Valery testified during opening statements in the pimping, pandering and rape trial of Rios, who faces 35 felony charges involving six victims, two of them underage girls. Prosecutors said he tried to get all of them to work as prostitutes and three of them did.

Valery went on to testify that Rios took her to his Moreno Valley home and took pictures of her, which she said he used in online ads. When potential customers would call in, she said Rios told her to set up appointments at local motels, where she met them for sex. The going rate was $250 for 30 minutes, Valery said, and Rios took half of the profits.

Prosecutors told jurors that Rios raped his prostitutes on two occasions. In one case, he allegedly overpowered one woman while she was sleeping and in the other case the woman was drunk.

Rios' defense attorney contends that it was simply a stripper business in which he would recruit women to strip, dance and perform for money. If the women were to have sex for money, it was something entirely up to them.

Rios, 42, could face more than 15 years in prison if convicted of 35 felony counts - including forcible rape, pimping, pandering and insurance fraud -- stemming from alleged criminal activity in 2011 and 2012. He is free on $500,000 bail.

Rios' legal troubles don't end there. He also faces an attempted murder charge for a shooting outside his home following a bar fight.

Rios was elected to the Moreno Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees in November 2010. According to the school board bylaws, Rios will automatically lose his position if he is unable to perform his duties for three months in a row or is convicted of a felony.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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