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York City Councilman's guilty plea to disorderly conduct is 'disturbing,' members say, but doesn't cross moral turpitude threshold

Lou Rivera pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from allegations he exposed himself to another man in 2020.
Credit: wpmt

YORK, Pa. — A York City Council member pleaded guilty to one summary count of disorderly conduct stemming from a 2020 incident in which he was accused of exposing himself to another man in a Manchester Township restaurant.

Lou Rivera was initially charged with indecent exposure, harassment, and disorderly conduct in the alleged incident, which police say occurred in Feb. 2020.

The York County District Attorney’s Office dropped charges of indecent exposure, harassment, and disorderly conduct. All three were misdemeanors.

Northern York County Regional Police filed charges against Rivera in Sept. 2020. 

The alleged victim reported that Rivera exposed himself to him after a job interview at the Manchester Township restaurant Rivera owns. The victim claimed Rivera exposed himself in a bathroom after the interview, according to police.

When the charges were filed, York City Council President Henry Hay Nixon, Vice President Sandie Walker, and council members Judy A. Ritter-Dickson and Edquina Washington issued a statement asking the public to allow the legal process to play out.

Now that Rivera has pleaded guilty, the council members issued another statement this week.

While the allegations stemming from the case were "disturbing," the council said, the court agreement "does not meet the threshold of moral turpitude."

The full statement reads:

“We have been made aware of Councilman Lou Rivera’s guilty plea to disorderly conduct from a case filed in Sept. 2020. The allegations stemming from that case were disturbing and required the utmost attention from our legal system. 

As expressed in a previous statement, we wanted this case to follow due process of law. That process has played out and after 14 months, it has concluded. 

Although we hear the community’s concerns regarding Councilman Rivera’s continued service on Council, the court agreement does not meet the threshold of moral turpitude. 

We have, and will always have, the utmost compassion for victims of sexual harassment and strongly urge victims to immediately report such transgressions.

We will continue to do our jobs as elected officials and will work in the best interest of the City of York and its citizenry.” 

York Mayor Michael Helfrich told the York Daily Record that court precedent is clear that disorderly conduct does not meet the "standard of further action for the City of York."

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