Metro

Lawrence man pleads not guilty to rape, drug charges in connection with death of 13-year-old

Carlos Rivera at his May 28 arraignment in Lawrence District Court.
Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
Carlos Rivera at his May 28 arraignment in Lawrence District Court.

SALEM — A 47-year-old Lawrence man on Friday pleaded not guilty in court to charges that he provided drugs to 13-year-old Chloe Ricard in May and sexually assaulted her before dropping her off unconscious at a local hospital, where she later died.

With Ricard’s grieving parents looking on, Carlos Rivera, 47, entered his plea in Essex Superior Court to charges of aggravated rape of a child, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, two counts of distributing cocaine to a minor, one count of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over, and distribution of fentanyl.

He was ordered held pending a dangerousness hearing on Sept. 27.

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Rivera stood behind a transparent partition in the prisoner’s dock, leaving him a short distance away from Ricard’s visibly distressed mother, Deborah Goldsmith-Dolan. She was comforted by her husband, Brian Dolan, who was Ricard’s stepfather.

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Ricard was not named in court Friday, but Goldsmith-Dolan and Dolan have identified her as the victim. Rivera has not been charged with causing her death.

Dolan and Goldsmith-Dolan, who live in Amesbury, declined to speak with a reporter following the arraignment. No details of the allegations were read in court.

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Karp granted a motion by the state to impound documents pertaining to the Sept. 27 hearing.

Essex Assistant district attorney Jessica Strasnick argued in the motion that the public release of those records, which contain undisclosed details about the case, would impede the investigation and jeopardize the privacy of the involved minors.

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The materials include the names of additional victims and information the grand jury is still considering, according to the state’s motion. Prosecutors will seek further indictments based on that information once the investigation is complete.

Rivera has remained in custody since his arrest days after Ricard’s death. He was previously arraigned in district court and indicted June 27, setting up Friday’s Superior Court arraignment.

Previously released court records allege Rivera drove Ricard to Lawrence General Hospital on the afternoon of May 20. He stopped his car, flagged hospital employees, and then walked over to a nearby sewer drain, records allege.

Rivera discarded “something into the sewer,” according to court records, and “got down on both of his knees and made certain those items went down the drainage sewer.” Then he drove away, and Ricard was soon pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the legal filings.

Then he drove away, and Ricard was soon pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the legal filings.

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Investigators later reached into the sewer and found two cut-up white plastic straws; an orange cigarette filter; and a small bag with white powder, according to authorities.

A 16-year-old girl told police that Rivera had touched her inappropriately at his apartment on May 17 or 18, according to record records, and a witness who was at Rivera’s apartment on May 19 told police she saw Rivera give cocaine on a mirror to two teenagers who snorted the drugs using cut straws.

The filing did not say whether there is evidence that those straws were the same ones that investigators found in the sewer.

Goldsmith-Dolan and Dolan have said they dropped Ricard off at a friend’s house the afternoon of May 19. She preferred to be around friends when she got sad or angry, Goldsmith-Dolan said.

When Ricard did not come home that night or the next morning, Goldsmith-Dolan said she got in touch with her daughter’s friend, who said the girl was safe in Haverhill.

But later in the day, a Department of Children and Families employee told Goldsmith-Dolan there were some “red flags” that Ricard wanted to leave the state, Goldsmith-Dolan said.

Goldsmith-Dolan was filing a missing person’s report when Ricard’s friend sent her a text message, she said, saying that the girl was in the hospital.

“She was just a beautiful, kind girl,” her mother said in May. “Everyone that met her loved her; she was so social.”

Deanna Pan can be reached at deanna.pan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @DDpan. Travis Andersen can be reached attandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached atgal.lotan@globe.com.