Trial opens for former SDPD officer accused of assault
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A former San Diego police officer accused of trying to elicit sexual favors from women he stopped for alleged drunken driving violations was arrested following two arranged telephone calls with a victim, a detective testified Monday.
San Diego police Detective Lori Adams, who took the stand on the first day of trial for Anthony Arevalos, testified she had the woman who made the initial report in March talk to the officer on the telephone twice.
The actual content of the calls, which lasted for 15 minutes and a half- hour, respectively, was not revealed to the seven-woman, five-man jury. However, Adams said she and a team of investigators arrested the father of two outside his home the next day.
The defendant faces more than 19 years in prison if convicted of 21 felony counts involving seven women.
Arevalos, 41, was with the San Diego Police Department for 18 years before being fired earlier this year when the charges — including assault under the color of authority, sexual battery by restraint, false imprisonment and soliciting or receiving a bribe — were filed.
The woman who made the first report — identified only as “Jane Doe” — told investigators that she was stopped at Eighth and G streets in the Gaslamp Quarter by an officer who told her they could “work something out,” Adams testified.
The detective said the woman's description of the officer matched Arevalos, and GPS tracking of his patrol car matched her story.
The so-called “pretext calls” came a couple of nights later.
Asked by Deputy District Attorney Sherry Thompson about the alleged victim's demeanor during the calls, Adams said, “Extremely nervous, she was shaking, heavy breathing.”
After police announced the officer's arrest at a news conference, other alleged victims came forward, according to Adams.
In her opening statement, Thompson told jurors that the Gaslamp Quarter was a “board” for a game played by Arevalos — “a game called `What Can You Offer Me?”
The defendant used his position of authority to barter and trade sexual favors from alleged female drunken driving offenders. The prosecutor ran through the experiences of all seven women, some of whom were ultimately arrested for DUI, and others who were let go.
“Jane Doe” had just ridden on a Mardi Gras float and was trying to get to work when Arevalos pulled her over, Thompson said. The young woman was panicked and hyperventilating, she said.
“He says, `Calm down, there are other options,”' Thompson said. “She doesn't know what to do, and the negotiations begin.”
He ended up rubbing her private parts in a 7-Eleven bathroom, according to the prosecutor.
Adams said the GPS confirmed the officer's presence at the convenience store, and employees identified him.
The prosecutor said another of the alleged victims flashed her breasts at Arevalos, and he rubbed under the underwear and bra of a third woman.
Defense lawyer Jan Ronis, in his opening statement told jurors they should keep an open mind because the women were under the influence of alcohol at the time, which “skewed” both their perception of events and their memories.
Also, several of the women have filed claims — the precursor to lawsuits — pending against the city — and two of them have been arrested for DUI in separate cases since their allegations against Arevalos were made, Ronis said.