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Aug. 26—SALEM, Mass. — Penalties were discussed earlier this summer and a judge heard victim impact statements, but Carlos Rivera, a Lawrence man accused of preying on and raping young girls, has not yet decided whether he will plead guilty or go to trial.
Rivera, 49, who is nicknamed "Mago," is charged with 19 criminal counts, including rape, aggravated rape, human trafficking, involuntary manslaughter and providing illegal drugs. His purported victims include three adult women and seven girls under the age of 18, authorities said.
He remains held without bail at Middleton Jail.
A lobby conference, where a resolution to the case was discussed, was held in July. On Thursday, another hearing was held in Salem Superior Court. Rivera's attorney filed additional motions.
A mechanic by day and drug dealer by night, Rivera preyed on vulnerable young girls, giving them alcohol, drugs, gifts and food, then raping them, demanding nude photos and more, a prosecutor said.
Authorities said Rivera got away with the predatory behavior until May 20, 2019, after Chloe Ricard, 13, of Amesbury, spent time at this 59 Bellevue St. apartment. That night, he and another girl dumped Ricard's lifeless body at Lawrence General Hospital and left.
Ricard was pronounced dead a short time later. An autopsy listed her cause of death as acute intoxication from a combination of fentanyl, cocaine, an antihistamine, and ethanol.
At the lobby conference July 19 in Salem Superior Court, Assistant District Attorney Jessica Strasnick asked that if Rivera pleads guilty he be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
His defense attorney, Jeanne Earley, suggested a more lenient sentence of 14 to 16 years in state prison, with human trafficking charges dismissed.
Then, after hearing from both the prosecution and defense, and taking a break, Judge Thomas Dreschler said if Rivera pleads guilty, he would sentence him to 20 to 22 years in state prison followed by 10 years probation.
While on probation, Rivera would need to register with the state's Sex Offender Registry Board, wear a GPS monitor and abide by a curfew, Dreschler said.
The case was continued until Thursday in Salem Superior Court. But there was no discussion of Rivera pleading guilty during the brief hearing.
Instead, Rivera's defense attorney filed a lengthy motion to dismiss charges. The case was continued until Oct. 26.
Strasnick said previously Rivera targeted vulnerable girls, some of whom were addicts, taking them out to eat, to get take-out, to nail salons and giving them access to an elaborate array of feminine hygiene and personal products he stocked in the bathroom of his apartment.
He would rape them, demand nude photos and more, Strasnick said.
Strasnick said he purchased holiday presents for the family of one victim. Then on Christmas Eve 2013 he raped her as payback, she said.
Earley, Rivera's defense attorney, said during the lobby conference, that he is one of eight children and has four children of his own. He has his GED and has worked as a mechanic, bartender and in construction. Prior to these charges, Rivera had no criminal record, Earley said.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.