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December 7, 2012

Salem police investigate possible sex assault at hotel

SALEM — Police are investigating a reported sexual assault at the Red Roof Inn, but the victim and suspect aren’t being very cooperative, Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said yesterday.

Early Wednesday morning, a woman called police and said she had been kidnapped, sexually assaulted and restrained in a hotel room for two days, Patten said.

“There is some question as to the validity of the complaint,” he said. “It appears to be a prostitute/john situation, but the victim is now uncooperative.”

Police arrested Raul Rivera, 48, of Salem and first charged him with criminal restraint and felonious sexual assault.

Initially, the victim told police Rivera was her boyfriend, Patten said.

“During the course of the investigation, we learned otherwise,” he said.

Then the victim started changing her story.

“We started questioning her about inconsistencies in story, then she became less cooperative,” Patten said.

Rivera has been uncooperative throughout, he added.

When officers arrived at the hotel, located just off South Policy Street, Rivera was “screaming at the victim and threatening to beat her,” Patten said.

He was taken into custody and charged.

But there could be more charges.

The female victim was taken to Parkland Medical Center for treatment.

The investigation into the sexual assault continues. In the meantime, Rivera is free on $2,500 personal recognizance.

He is charged with criminal threatening, a misdemeanor, and criminal restraint, a Class B felony. The charges changed as the victim’s story did and police gathered evidence.

They executed a search warrant on the hotel room.

“There was evidence of sexual relations, but the question remains whether it was consensual,” Patten said. “There was no evidence of physical beating.”

After police interviewed the victim and Rivera, the story took a different turn.

“There’s some question about payment,” Patten said.

There also are questions about the victim’s claims, he said, particularly since Rivera left the hotel to go to work both days she claimed to be restrained there.

Rivera was arrested in November 2010, and charged with two counts of simple assault and criminal threatening in that case.

The victim two years ago, a 62-year-old woman who said she was Rivera’s girlfriend, told police he had assaulted her several times. In that instance, the victim had visible injuries.

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