Thursday, May 24, 2018
Public safety

Tampa city worker accused of paying underage girls for sex

TAMPA — A 68-year-old man who has worked for the city of Tampa for 26 years was arrested Thursday afternoon, accused of paying underage girls to have sex with him, police said.

Demetrio Rivera, a wastewater plant technician, has been seeking out teenage girls since 2011, arrest affidavits say.

In some cases, Rivera paid the girls, ages 15 and 16, about $40 in exchange for sex, Tampa police affidavits say.

One recent offense took place on Feb. 25, when Rivera picked up a 16-year-old from her school, took her to a hotel and paid her $60, according to the affidavits.

Police began investigating Rivera after another wastewater worker told a supervisor in March that Rivera might be committing crimes.

The city's human resources department contacted police, who launched an investigation.

An undercover Tampa police detective began working alongside Rivera as a new co-worker and gained his trust, police said. Rivera soon confided in the detective about his encounters with the girls, police said.

On Thursday, detectives spotted Rivera picking up a 16-year-old girl and then driving to a wastewater pump station while he was off work. He was arrested at the pump station.

The girl told detectives there were three other victims.

Rivera faces several charges, including lewd or lascivious battery and molestation, unlawful sexual activity with a minor and traveling to meet a minor.

He was booked into the Hillsborough County jail and was released Friday on $82,500 bail.

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