Pastor wanted in Covina sexual assault ran rowdy congregation, neighbors say

Saturday, February 10, 2018
Pastor wanted in sexual assault ran rowdy congregation, neighbors say
Neighbors say the Glendale congregation of Pastor Douglas Rivera, who is wanted for sexual assault, is often drunk, wild and confrontational.

GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- New details are emerging about a pastor of a Glendale church who is wanted in the sexual assault of a minor at a Covina hotel.

Douglas Rivera, 40, is a Baldwin Park resident and pastor who rents a space at Glendale City Church for his congregation, God's Gypsy Christian Church.

A number of nearby residents said Saturday that the services are unlike any they've ever seen. The congregation is often drunk, wild and confrontational, and many are afraid of Rivera. Many did not even want to show their face on camera.

A Glendale resident who did not want to be named or shown on camera said, "The character of this pastor - I've never seen anyone like him. He seemed violent, he didn't seem like a pastor...they seem more like gangsters, you know, than people of faith."

Rivera, police said, was caught on surveillance footage lurking outside of a hotel room in Covina touching himself and watching two young girls, who police said are between the ages of 10 and 12, alone inside a room. Police said Rivera then forced his way into the room and assaulted one of the girls.

But in cellphone video, Rivera shared his side of the story with Eyewitness News Friday and said he was simply in "the wrong place at the wrong time."

A Glendale pastor suspected of sexually assaulting a minor at a Covina hotel released a video to ABC7 Friday night where he shared his side of the story.

"I love you Los Angeles. Please, keep me in prayer," he said. "Listen, I did not do nothing wrong...something happened in that hotel, and that's the simple answer."

He added that he spoke with a lawyer and will be turning himself over to authorities on Wednesday.

Officials searched Rivera's home in Baldwin Park, took several boxes and confiscated his truck that police believe Rivera tried to conceal with paint.

Now, Glendale City Church is posting signs, making it clear that Rivera is separate from their church.

Anyone with information or questions regarding this crime is urged to contact Covina Police Department Detective Ramirez (626) 384-5621, Watch Commander (626) 384-5665, or Crime Stoppers (800) 222-TIPS (8477). Refer to Covina PD case # 18-4203.