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York City Council member charged with indecent exposure, harassment

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A York City Council member is facing criminal charges, accused of exposing his genitals to someone he'd just interviewed for a restaurant job.

Lou Rivera, 51, of Linden Avenue, was not arraigned on the misdemeanor offenses of indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and harassment, according to court records.

Instead, he will have bail set in his case at his preliminary hearing, according to the office of District Judge Jeffrey Oberdorf. In York County, that's standard procedure for people not facing felonies.

That hearing is currently set for Nov. 16, court records state.

Rivera referred all questions to his attorney, Niles Benn, who did not return a phone message seeking comment Thursday afternoon.

Rivera declined to say whether he intends to remain on the York City Council or whether he will step down, instructing a reporter to instead ask that question of Benn.

Lou Rivera is sworn in at the start of the first York City Council meeting of the year, Monday, January 6, 2020. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

Northern York County Regional Police filed charges against Rivera on Sept. 24, according to court records.

Northern Regional Chief Dave Lash said the investigation became "long and tedious" because it took time for investigators to serve numerous search warrants on the restaurant and on social-media sites such as Grinder.

The allegations: Charging documents state that Rivera was working as a manager for Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen at 1340 Toronita St. in Manchester Township and interviewed a man applying for a job there on Jan. 10.

The man told an investigator he knew Rivera socially prior to the interview, police said.

During the 30-minute interview, Rivera asked "numerous inappropriate questions of a sexual nature," which made the man feel "very uncomfortable," documents allege.

At the end of the interview, Rivera offered the man a job, police said.

After the interview ended, the man used a restroom after being shown where it was by Rivera, according to documents, which state the man was washing his hands when Rivera came in.

Rivera walked to a urinal and exposed himself to the man, according to charging documents.

"Rivera invited (him) to come over to the urinal where Rivera was exposing himself," documents allege.

The man refused and left the building, according to police.

Contacted police: He told investigators he was scheduled to start working at Cheddar's on Jan. 13 but that he decided not to take the job because Rivera would have been his supervisor, charging documents state.

Latinos Unidos Chairman Lou Rivera speaks as community leaders gather to announce details for the 2019 Latino Health Summit during a press conference at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts in York City, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. The City of York will host the second annual Latino Health Summit and Expo at York Expo Center April 17-18. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The man contacted Northern Regional Police on Feb. 29, documents state.

Another manager at Cheddar's reviewed security footage from Jan. 10 and told investigators it showed the job-interview candidate going into the men's room, followed shortly thereafter by Rivera, according to charging documents.

After a brief period, the man left the restroom and Rivera left after that, documents state.

Charging documents allege Rivera exposed his genitals to the man "for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of himself or another person," and "knew his conduct was likely to cause affront or alarm."

Rivera is the first openly gay Latino to be elected to York City Council.

He was elected in November 2019 and took office in January.

Rivera was the driving force behind the brand new Spanish-American Multicultural Resource Center at 426 N. George St. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the nonprofit advocacy center happened earlier this month.

York City Chief of Staff Philip Given declined comment on behalf of the city Thursday.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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