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Worthington juvenile sentenced following public scene at Regatta

WORTHINGTON — A Worthington 17-year-old appeared Monday in Nobles County District Court for his public disposition hearing after being found guilty of two charges relating to a disturbance at the June 9 Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival.

According to the criminal complaint, Nicholas Rivas was charged with a felony fourth-degree assault of a peace officer and misdemeanor disorderly conduct after acting disorderly, resisting arrest, causing a scene and spitting at a Worthington police officer shortly after 10 p.m. at the Regatta.

The complaint further details that Rivera yelled vulgarities and profanity at the officer and spit at him, nearly missing his face, before eventually being forced into detainment. During this encounter, around 10 to 15 other juveniles believed to be Rivas’ friends gathered and chimed in, the complaint continues.  

The court found Rivas guilty of the two offenses in September.

Despite being a juvenile case — which are generally closed to the public — Rivas’ disposition hearing was public because he was at least 16 years of age when charged and later convicted of the felony offense.  

On Monday, prosecuting attorney Braden Hoefert said last chances for Rivas have come and gone. He recommended Rivas be admitted to a short-term program at Southwestern Youth Services, a residential treatment facility in Magnolia designed to provide supervision, education and programs to meet the needs of young males experiencing legal, social, educational or behavioral problems.

“Piling more community service hours on Mr. Rivas when he hasn’t completed one in previous files indicates that won’t have an effect,” Hoefert said. “Without some programming, he’s on a one-way ticket to adult incarceration.”

Rivas’ defense attorney, Aaron Kinser, objected to the programming. He explained that while Rivas no longer attends school, making him move to the facility would exasperate his ability to keep his part-time employment shingling.

Kinser also indicated that Rivas did not think he needed any therapy or treatment and would likely not attend an SYS program.

Fifth Judicial District Judge Gordon Moore called the public scene Rivas caused at a community celebration attended by Worthington residents beyond unacceptable.

Moore sentenced Rivas to probation until Nov. 19, 2018 (his 19th birthday), ordered him to complete 30 hours of community service, write an apology letter to the officer, remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol and be subjected to random searches. A 30- to 90-day program at SYS will be executed if Rivas fails to comply with the terms of his probation.

“I’m as serious as a heart attack — if you’re back before me on another offense like this, it will result in a placement,” Moore said.  

A mugshot from Nobles County jail administration could not be obtained because of Rivas’ juvenile status.

Alyssa Sobotka

Alyssa joined The Globe in July 2017 and covers education and crime beats. The Nebraska native earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In her own sarcastic tone, her blog, Aimlessly Navigating, recounts the reality, pitfalls and triumphs of a young 20-something navigating to maturity. Follow her on Twitter: @alyssasobotka