LAWRENCE, Mass (WBZ NewsRadio) — A police officer charged with child rape appeared in Lawrence District Court on Tuesday.
Carlos Rivera, 49, is charged with two counts of aggravated rape of a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.
He was arrested Monday in Haverhill by Massachusetts State Police after a month-long investigation according to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.
Rivera, a 20-year veteran of the Lawrence Police Department, was subsequently placed on administrative leave.
Prosecutors say the victim’s mother contacted their office in January to report that her son had met Rivera using Grindr and engaged in sexual activity with him in the summer of 2018.
Grindr is a social networking dating mobile application that uses location to match men with men.
Prosecutors say that the victim rode their bicycle to Mount Vernon Park and met with a man driving a black Chevrolet Suburban SUV where the alleged rape took place.
Subsequently, the victim told his mother that he saw the SUV parked in the driveway of a Lawrence home. He also saw the same man who raped him wearing a police officer’s uniform directing traffic during the Merrimack Valley gas explosions in September.
Massachusetts State Police showed the victim two photo arrays and prosecutors say that he did a pretty good job at identifying Rivera as the man who assaulted him.
Gil Nason, Vieira’s attorney, challenged the validity of the photo arrays and tried to keep his client’s face shielded during court. However, the judge overruled and Rivera’s face could be seen.
“My client maintains his innocence,” said Nason. “He is a U.S. Marine veteran, did four years in the Marine…has been a police officer for 20-years, has had numerous commendations including valor, where he has saved people… he’s also been named cop of the year at least twice."
Nason believes identification will play a major role in this case and time will expose the truth.
“This will play out,” he said.
Nason says he is concerned for his client’s safety in jail because he has had a long career as a police officer.
Rivera is being held without bail and will be back in court for a dangerousness hearing on Friday.
WBZ NewsRadio's Mike Macklin (@MikeMacklinWBZ) reports