Trial begins for Winnipeg pastor charged with sex crimes in California
Nathan George Rieger, 53, charged with trying to arrange to meet a minor for sex
The trial for a Winnipeg pastor accused of arranging to meet a minor for sex in California has started in that state, an official in the local district attorney's office confirmed Tuesday.
Assistant district attorney for San Luis Obispo County Eric J. Dobroth wrote in an email pre-trial motions in the trial for Nathan George Rieger began Monday and jury selection was completed Tuesday.
Opening statements and evidence will begin Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. CT, Dobroth said.
Rieger, 53, was arrested on Aug. 10 in Arroyo Grande, about 128 kilometres northwest of Santa Barbara, and charged with arranging to meet with a minor for a sexual act and meeting with a minor for a sexual act, according to Arroyo Grande Police Department records.
The 53-year-old entered a not guilty plea later in August. He also resigned from his pastor position at Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Church on Main Street, where he previously worked for 19 years.
Officers first began investigating Rieger on Aug. 8 as part of an undercover sting operation.
Police created an avatar of a 15-year-old girl, which they used to communicate with Rieger, Cmdr. Shawn Cosgrove with the Arroyo Grande Police Department told CBC in August.
"There's a whole network of people that are looking to have sex with minors and we have a detective bureau that is designated to have conversations with these people that are seeking to have sex with minors," Cosgrove said at the time.
Charles Magill, Rieger's lawyer, declined to comment when CBC contacted him on Monday.