Number of alleged victims up to 5 in case of cop accused of eliciting sexual favors
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Prosecutors filed additional charges Wednesday against an 18-year veteran police officer, bringing to five the number of women he's accused of trying to elicit for sexual favors during traffic stops in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Officer Anthony Arevalos faces nearly 17 years in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Sherry Thompson.
Arevalos, 40, is charged with 18 counts, including false imprisonment, assault under the color of authority, sexual battery by restraint and receiving a bribe.
Thompson said the investigation is continuing. At the defendant's arraignment, she said there could be as many as nine alleged victims.
The prosecutor said most of the women were between 20 and 30, and many of them appeared to be students. She alleged that Arevalos tried to find out things of a personal nature about the women he stopped, like their interests and what they were studying.
Arevalos was on duty during the alleged crimes, the prosecutor said.
In the charges added today, Arevalos is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he stopped on Jan. 10, 2010, in three different locations.
Arevalos is also charged with receiving a bribe in connection with a traffic stop of a female motorist on Sept. 28, 2009, Thompson said.
The prosecutor said earlier that Arevalos made a DUI stop on a 31-year- old woman in the Gaslamp on March 8. When she registered above .08 percent on a DUI test, Arevalos asked the woman what she could offer him in exchange for making the charges go away, Thompson alleged.
The woman asked the officer what he wanted, and he allegedly said one woman had given him her bra and panties.
Arevalos told the DUI suspect that they needed to move to a separate location and escorted her to a 7-Eleven restroom, where he locked the door, took her panties, then sexually assaulted her before leaving, Thompson alleged.
The officer stopped a second alleged victim for an expired vehicle registration last Dec. 29. Arevalos told the woman he smelled alcohol and gave her a DUI test, which registered above .05 percent, the prosecutor said.
Because the woman was under 21, Arevalos detained her for being a minor under the influence of alcohol, Thompson said.
When Arevalos asked her what she would be willing to do to make the arrest go away, she told him she was willing to sleep in her car and have a friend pick her up, according to the prosecutor.
When that failed to resolve the issue, Arevalos allegedly told the woman they could go in a dark corner for 30 minutes or go in the back of his patrol car for 15 minutes.
The woman declined, and when another officer arrived, she was given a citation, the prosecutor said.
Thompson alleged that Arevalos sexually assaulted a third woman he stopped on suspicion of DUI last Oct. 22 in the Gaslamp.
During the 90-minute stop, Arevalos stood or crouched in the doorway of the woman's car and asked what she was willing to do to get out of the DUI, Thompson alleged.
The woman refused to take a DUI test, and Arevalos began poking her breast with his finger, the prosecutor alleged.
Arevalos allegedly put his hands down the woman's pants and she showed him her breasts at his request before he called her a cab, Thompson said.
Authorities have also reopened an investigation into a similar complaint against Arevalos made by a woman in February 2010, Thompson said.
Arevalos — who is free on $200,000 bail — was placed on unpaid suspension while the criminal case against him is investigated, authorities said.
A preliminary hearing was set for June 6.