MoVal School Board Member Pleads Not Guilty to Rape, Pimping + Pandering

Mike Luis Rios, who turned 42 Sunday, remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail at Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. He faces six counts of pandering, three counts of pimping and two counts of forcible rape.

A Moreno Valley school board member charged with attempted murder pleaded not guilty Friday in Riverside to 11 additional felony counts, including rape, pimping and pandering.

Mike Luis Rios, 42, was near his home in the 27500 block of Palm Shadows Drive after an investigation by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office led to allegations that he had sexually assaulted two women and had three working for him as prostitutes.

He also allegedly tried to recruit several young girls, according to prosecutors.

Rios appeared Friday before Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan, who set a bail review hearing in the case for Tuesday and issued an order prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with minors - including the alleged victims - unless they're related to him.

Rios, who in lieu of $500,000 bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, is facing six counts of pandering, three counts of pimping and two counts of forcible rape.

Four weeks ago, the first-term school board member posted a $250,000 bond to get out of jail after being charged with two counts of attempted murder and other allegations in connection with a shooting outside his home.

According to District Attorney's Office spokesman John Hall, the pimping and rape investigation turned up evidence that Rios had offered various incentives to persuade four women and two girls to work for him as prostitutes.

The defendant allegedly identified himself as a school board member to one woman and implied he could use his position to get her a job.

"Another woman answered an Internet advertisement for a job, (and) Rios offered one of the juvenile girls the use of his Hummer if she would work for him," Hall said. "He met the other juvenile through an Internet ad she had placed for prostitution and . . . offered her the use of his vehicle and his house if she would work for him."

The pimping charges are based on the three women who allegedly worked for the defendant in a money-for-sex operation. The pandering allegations stem from solicitations to work. No details were provided about the alleged rapes.

The attempted murder charges, filed in February, arose from allegations by two men that Rios tried to shoot them during a confrontation outside his residence.

The defendant claimed the men had followed him home from a nightclub and threatened him with a gun, but investigators could not corroborate the story and got an entirely different account from witnesses who pointed to Rios as the alleged culpable party, according to sheriff's officials.

The defendant was elected to the Moreno Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees in November 2010. MVUSD Superintendent Judy White released a statement in February saying he could not be removed from his position until one of three things happened - he remains absent from his duties for three consecutive months, is convicted or is recalled by voters.

However, school district officials said Thursday they were examining other options, and a recall drive was reported to be under way.

Rios gained attention in July 2010 when he claimed to be a member of the city council and purported to represent the city in statements to the media immediately after the abduction and murder of 17-year-old .

More recently, he went public about an ongoing dispute with federal officials over his El Salvadoran wife's immigration status.

Dora Landaverde-Torres, 39, was arrested last September by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents during "Operation Cross Check," which involved a series of sweeps nationwide to nab illegal aliens with criminal records.

According to ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice, the woman was arrested based on a felony drug conviction in the late 1990s. She remains in federal custody.

Rios and Landaverde-Torres have two small children.

In a phone interview from jail Thursday with the Press-Enterprise, Rios claimed the rape and pimping charges are politically motivated.

"The cops are using this . . . they're answering to other political people," Rios told the Press-Enterprise. "This is a political assassination on me."

Before his arrests April 4 and Feb. 16 on suspicion of rape, pimping, pandering, and attempted murder, Rios that he was already being falsely accused by his enemies.

Moreno Valley is between the San Gorgonio Pass and the city of Riverside, about 65 miles east of Los Angeles.

ATC April 09, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Wow, with all the skeletons in this guy's closet, makes you wonder how he could have gotten elected to the school board.


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