A doctor charged Saturday with possessing a large quantity of chemicals used in bomb-making spent 15 years on the staff of a Manhattan hospital until he was fired in 2006 for refusing to submit to a psychiatric evaluation when a nurse accused him of stalking her, court records show.
Roberto Rivera, 60, was charged with recklessly creating a risk of widespread injury or damage after federal and local authorities found precursor chemicals used in the making of explosives in the basement of a Ridgewood house, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said in a release Saturday afternoon.
Rivera was being held Sunday night on $1 million bail.
Authorities did not release any additional information Sunday about the arrest. Molinelli called at least one of the chemicals "highly volatile" in his release a day earlier, but did not disclose the names of any of the chemicals or the quantities in which they were found.
Rivera, who was a vocal supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement, is not charged in any plot involving the chemicals.
Rivera joined the staff of St. Vincent's Medical Center in 1991 as an attending physician, and spent 15 years there before his employment was terminated over allegations that he stalked a nurse who worked with him in the Department of Community Medicine, court records show.
Rivera and the nurse, whose name Patch is withholding, had developed a "deep friendship," and the doctor took to extremes to stay in contact with her after she tried to end the relationship, such as following her home on a bicycle, the nurse alleged.
Rivera left his wife and rented an apartment in the same Brooklyn neighborhood in which the nurse lived, according to the court records. He would follow her to work and leave notes on her desk, she claimed.
The nurse filed harassment and stalking complaints against Rivera in May 2006, and Rivera was suspended and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. He refused and was fired in July 2006.
Rivera sued the hospital. The suit was dismissed.
Neighbors interviewed Saturday and Sunday described Rivera as introverted. They said he lived in the building at 183 Union Street for about a year, and at least one recalled him carrying protest signs from the house.
The woman with whom Rivera was staying in Ridgewood, 55-year-old Shannon Mulligan, told NorthJersey.com that the doctor was a "passionate intellectual" whom she met on a dating website.
Mulligan told NorthJersey.com that Rivera was non-violent and did not agree with "any militant element" inside the Occupy movement.
That description may seem at odds with the alleged bomb-making chemicals, assault rifles and other weapons police say they found in Rivera's home during the raid.
Authorities from multiple agencies — including the FBI and Bergen County hazmat and bomb squad units — began removing evidence from the home on Friday night.
Rivera was charged with second degree recklessly creating a risk of widespread injury or damage; fourth degree failure to mitigate against recklessly creating a risk of widespread injury or damage; third degree unlawful possession of a destructive device; fourth degree unlawful possession of a stun gun; fourth degree unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition magazine; and second degree unlawful possession of an assault firearm.