• December 26, 2014

Ex-soldier who won $6.5M lawsuit faces attempted murder charge

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Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 4:30 am

CHARLOTTE, Mich. — A 27-year-old former Fort Hood soldier who months ago won a $6.5 million lawsuit against Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center was charged last week with attempted murder and first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Higinio Rivera III is accused of raping and trying to strangle a 10-year-old girl, court documents show.

The Iraq War veteran who now lives in Eaton County, Mich., was arraigned Monday in Eaton County District Court on the charges. A judge set bond at $1 million.

Court documents obtained by the Lansing State Journal show the incident happened early Saturday morning. Rivera, who is married and has two young sons, was living at the home near Charlotte where the incident occurred. His wife could not be reached for comment.

The 10-year-old girl’s parents said they were awakened Saturday by her screaming, according to a transcript of the hearing that led to charges against Rivera. Eaton County sheriff’s deputies responded to the home shortly after 3 a.m., officials said. The girl told her parents “that she was choked by (Rivera),” according to the transcript.

She was examined at Sparrow Hospital by Dr. Stephen Guertin, an expert in child abuse, who found evidence of a sexual crime, according to the transcript. Guertin also saw evidence of strangulation, specifically bruising around the girl’s voice box, records show.

The girl told a detective that “she was absolutely certain” Rivera was the person who attacked her, according to the transcript.

Rivera’s attorney, John Deming, declined to comment, saying he only recently had been appointed in the case.

Rivera served in Iraq between 2006 and 2007, according to Army officials. He left the Army in July 2010.

Last December, a federal judge approved a $6.5 million settlement in a lawsuit Rivera and his wife filed after their son suffered permanent brain damage in 2008 during an induced childbirth at Darnall.

The lawsuit was filed in 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. It alleged negligence by doctors.

In 2012, Rivera was convicted of multiple misdemeanor counts of writing bad checks, court records show. He pleaded guilty in those cases.

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