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A New York man charged with assaulting and stalking gay men on Worth Avenue pleads not guilty

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Pride Month is not off to a great start in Palm Beach.

Joseph Peter Rivera, 42 was charged with stalking and assaulting gay men on Worth Avenue pleaded not guilty during his first appearance Monday at the Gun Club Road courthouse.

Rivera was charged after police say he repeatedly yelled homophopic slurs at men on June 5 while also following them near the 100 block of Worth Avenue.

Officers responded to a call from two men who said they had pepper-sprayed another man, later identified as Rivera, on Worth Avenue because “they were assaulted and reared for their safety, ” a police report says.

Rivera was also charged with cocaine possession, to which he pleaded not guilty.

An enhancement was added to the charges because of “evidence of prejudice based of sexual orientation.”

Rivera was released a day after his arrest on a 1,000 bond.