Opening statements are slated to get under way today in the trial of a Moreno Valley school board member accused of running an escort service and sexually assaulting two of his call girls.
Mike Luis Rios, 42, could face more than 15 years in prison if convicted of 35 felony counts — including forcible rape, pimping, pandering and insurance fraud — stemming from alleged criminal activity in 2011 and 2012.
He is free on $500,000 bail.
The sex-for-money allegations were filed last April when a Riverside County sheriff’s investigation revealed Rios allegedly had been running prostitutes out of his two-story house in the 27500 block of Palm Shadows Drive.
During a preliminary hearing in August, six women and girls testified that they either worked for Rios as prostitutes or were asked to work for him.
An 18-year-old Los Angeles County woman identified only as Bianca testified that she was an outcall prostitute for two months in 2011, providing services to at least 40 men with whom Rios allegedly arranged “dates.”
The witness, who said she was afraid of Rios, said the defendant persuaded her to do “bad things with men,” telling her she couldn’t make money otherwise.
Rios would drive her to meetings with clients at motels and wait outside while she catered to them, Bianca testified.
The going rate was $200-$300 an hour, of which she received $65-$100.
Bianca said she quit after Rios sexually assaulted her in his bedroom.
One of the teenage witnesses alleged that Rios gave her free use of his Volkswagen Jetta in an attempt to persuade her to prostitute herself.
The defendant also allegedly bragged to one victim about being a local government official and implied he could use his influence to help her.
Rios is separately charged with attempting to shoot two men over a dispute that started at a bar last Feb. 16.
According to the alleged victims, when they showed up outside the defendant’s house to confront him about mistreating them, he pulled out a 9mm Glock pistol and fired four rounds at their vehicle, narrowly missing one of the men
Rios was elected to the Moreno Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees in November 2010.
According to the school board bylaws, Rios will automatically lose his position if he is unable to perform his duties for three consecutive months or is convicted of a felony.