A Phoenix law partner has been charged with sexually abusing a woman who was driving him home from a social gathering, according to court paperwork.
Phoenix police report that on September 25 they arrested 49-year-old Sal James Rivera.
Police say that on August 28 Rivera became intoxicated while at a social gathering at a restaurant near 16th and Van Buren streets.
After Rivera was reportedly "ejected" from the business, he got into an altercation with someone who was preventing him from driving, police said. The victim agreed to drive Rivera to his house.
The victim allegedly told police that Rivera, who was sitting in the back seat, pulled her hair and groped her. She told him to stop and removed his hands, but he allegedly kept abusing her, police said.
The victim told police she "feared that Sal was going to become increasingly violent," so she stopped the car at a convenience store, where she got out of the car and called her friends.
Witnesses at the store reported to police that Rivera got into the driver's seat and drove away.
Police say Rivera later admitted to his actions and apologized to the victim.
Upon his arrest, Rivera said he had no recollection of what happened or how he got home, police said.
Court paperwork says he has been an attorney for 23 years.
According to his website, Rivera has been involved in many community activities including, "In 2008, Mr. Rivera was appointed by Governor Janet Napolitano to serve as the founding President/CEO of the Arizona Economic Resource Organization (“AERO”), a new economic development organization created and chaired by Governor Napolitano.”
He has been charged with assault and sexual abuse.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic or sexual violence, there are several local and national organizations offering resources. Anyone in need of immediate assistance should contact either the Maricopa County Shelter Line at 480-890-3039, the National 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence at 602-279-2900. A number of organizations are available 24 hours a day for anyone at risk of experiencing domestic or sexual violence. See a directory of domestic violence programs here.