Democratic leader says York City Council member exposed self to him, made sexual proposition
A second person has come forward alleging that York City Council member Lou Rivera exposed himself and propositioned the man in a bathroom.
"I haven't really talked to anybody about it," Ryan Supler told The York Dispatch on Friday evening. "I thought, 'It's going to be my word against his word.' … Do I really want to go through all this?"
Supler, 32, said he initially shrugged off the encounter but that after reading newspaper articles about Rivera's criminal case, he decided to come forward to publicly support Rivera's alleged victim.
"I saw the victim being trashed — eviscerated — (on social media) by people I see as community leaders," Supler said. "They are just ripping this victim to shreds."
Rivera remains free on bail, charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and harassment for allegedly showing his penis to a man in a restaurant bathroom and propositioning him. Read more about that case here:
Reached Friday evening and told of the allegations being made by Supler, Rivera referred comment to his current defense attorney, Chris Ferro, who declined comment.
New allegations: Supler said the encounter happened in early 2019, probably January or February, in the bathroom of a union hall outside Manchester during a Democratic kickoff event.
Supler said he went into the men's room, where Rivera was standing at a urinal.
"He immediately looks over to see who it is," Supler said. "He looks at me and was saying, 'Hey, why don't you come over here and play with it?' He turns his body and just whips it out and plays with it."
Supler said he was shocked.
"This happened so quick," he said. "I guess I tried to fake a laugh, and I just said, 'Knock it off.'"
Supler said he waited to use the urinal until after Rivera left the bathroom, adding that although he and Rivera didn't discuss the encounter, it adversely affected their professional relationship.
Supler is a leader in the York County Democratic Party with a state committee title who served as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention, he said. Supler made an unsuccessful run for York County treasurer last year.
Repercussions? He said one of the reasons he never said anything publicly is because he was worried that people would think he was trying to tear down a community leader out of spite or jealousy.
"From my personal life experience, (I think) he's got to resign today," Supler said, "or at least be forced to take some form of leave of absence."
As Rivera, 51, left his preliminary hearing on Monday, he did not respond when The York Dispatch asked if he intended to resign his position on York City Council, but his then-attorney did.
"Mr. Rivera did not do anything wrong, so (he's) not resigning," Niles Benn said.
The criminal case: Northern York County Regional Police filed charges against Rivera on Sept. 24.
Charging documents state that he 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 went to a restroom and Rivera walked to a urinal and exposed himself, documents state.
The man testified that Rivera encouraged him to "come here, come here," but the man refused and left the building.
At Rivera's preliminary hearing, the accuser testified that Rivera subsequently came to his home and raped him. There have been no charges filed against the council member regarding that allegation.
About Rivera: 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 in October.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.