Ariz. Dem Donor Charged with Felony Sexual Abuse

Man arrested for sexually assaulting woman after David Garcia's election night party

David Garcia / dg4az
October 9, 2018

A political donor to Arizona Democrat David Garcia was charged with felony sexual abuse and misdemeanor assault of a woman, according to arrest records.

The donor, lawyer Sal James Rivera, had asked the woman to drive him home from the Garcia campaign's election night party because he was too drunk to drive himself. Rivera became sexually aggressive during the ride—first asking for oral sex and then physically groping her—forcing her to stop at a still-open convenience store, according to the police report.

The sexual assault occurred on Aug. 28, but Rivera was not charged until Sept. 25.

Rivera had donated over $3,000 to Garcia's gubernatorial campaign, all before the Aug. 28 election party, state campaign finance records show.

There has been no documentation that any of the money has been returned by the Garcia campaign, which did not respond to a Free Beacon inquiry on what it planned to do with the money.

The Garcia campaign is not listed in the police report, but the address and time of the event Rivera attended that are listed in the report match the listed address and time of the campaign's event. The name of Rivera's victim and witnesses who were able to corroborate her account are also left out of the report.

The report indicates, however, that Rivera was asked to leave the party because he was too drunk and became "verbally aggressive."

"[Rivera] became intoxicated while at a social gathering and [the victim] accepted the task of driving him home," the report states.

From the back of the car, Rivera asked the woman about "performing oral sex on him." He also "began physically touching her neck, pulling at her hair, and touching her breast on top of her clothing," despite being told to stop.

After the victim stopped at a convenience store to get help, Rivera got in the driver seat and drove himself from the scene.

The police report noted that Rivera has since apologized for his actions, saying he had no recollection of what he did.

Garcia's campaign has yet to comment publicly on the incident that stemmed from Rivera's drinking at its event.

Rivera has also contributed this cycle to Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema and to the Arizona Democratic Party, according to Federal Election Commission records.

An email to Rivera requesting comment was not returned by press time.