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Tattoo Artist Faces Sex Crimes Trial

September 11, 2002|JEAN GUCCIONE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Los Angeles County judge ordered a tattoo artist Tuesday to stand trial on charges that he sexually assaulted three young women at his North Hollywood business.

The women, ages 16 to 25, testified that Daniel Victor Rivas, 46, touched them sexually while tattooing their lower backs during the last two years.

An 18-year-old said she still has an unfinished fairy tattoo because she left hastily after Rivas touched her in May 2000.

A 25-year-old woman said she never returned to the tattoo parlor to pick up the $20 that she is owed in change for an $80 tattoo she got in the summer of 2000 because she didn't want to see Rivas.

After the preliminary hearing, Superior Court Judge Jessica Perrin Silvers ordered Rivas to stand trial on three felony counts of penetration with a foreign object and two misdemeanor counts each of sexual battery and tattooing girls younger than 18.

Rivas has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Andrew Bassis said Rivas could be sentenced to up to 13 years in state prison if convicted.

Bassis said two victims, including the 25-year-old, contacted police in May after learning about Rivas' arrest through the media.

Each woman went to Dr. John's Tattoos with friends, but was alone with Rivas in the back room where they said the assaults took place.

The two younger women testified that Rivas would not permit anyone to accompany them.

The 16-year-old said in court Tuesday that Rivas undressed her below the waist before he tattooed a heart on her lower back.

She testified that Rivas touched her after he sprayed alcohol on her new tattoo, saying he wanted to clean her.

"I was surprised. I was shocked," she testified Tuesday. "I told him to stop and give me my clothes."

The girl said she got dressed and left with her two older sisters.

When she got home, she told her parents about the incident and they notified police.

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