Woman says she was handcuffed when SDPD traffic cop fondled her - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Woman says she was handcuffed when SDPD traffic cop fondled her

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By David Gotfredson

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Another young woman has come forward, alleging a San Diego police officer touched her in a sexually inappropriate way during a traffic stop in the Gaslamp Quarter.

In an exclusive interview with News 8, the 25-year-old woman said she was sexually battered by the officer after he handcuffed her.

The woman was pulled over three weeks ago in the Gaslamp Quarter by Officer Anthony Arevalos, the same officer accused of sexually inappropriate behavior with other female drivers. She said the officer handcuffed her and started fondling her shoulder.

"The first time I was just not even thinking about it, but then like the third and fourth time it just started getting more awkward and uncomfortable," the woman said.

The 40-year-old officer arrested her on suspicion of drunk driving in the Gaslamp on Feb. 20.  In a police report obtained by News 8, the officer wrote he stopped her "for failing to stop at a stop sign."

While she was handcuffed, the woman said Officer Arevalos started rubbing her shoulder while pulling up the spaghetti straps on her dress.

"My hands were behind my back because I was handcuffed and my spaghetti straps kept falling down because of the angle that it was in, and he just repeatedly brushed his hand up to move my strap back on my shoulder. Throughout the night I'd say it happened about four to five times," she said.

Attorney Marc Kohnen is representing the woman, who News 8 agreed not to identify.

"He repeatedly used his arm to caress her shoulder and pull her spaghetti straps up over her arm. This happened several times," Kohnen said. "He'd let his hand linger there in an inappropriate manner, in a touching manner, that should never have happened in this type of interaction."

Officer Arevalos declined to comment on the recent allegations.  Kohnen said he has been in contact with detectives and his client will file a complaint against Officer Arevalos in the coming days.

"The whole color of authority is bad enough, the fact that this is an officer. We're supposed to trust them and they're supposed to act within a legitimate capacity as law enforcement. Now when you add the element of the client being physically restrained and unable to do anything to protect herself from invasive touching, it's exponentially worse," Kohnen said.

As Officer Arevalos drove the woman to jail in Santee, she alleged he started making inappropriate comments like, "It's sad that we had to meet this way. I wish we would have met over coffee. That probably would have been a better situation."

"My client was alone with Officer Arevalos as he transported her to Las Colinas jail," attorney Kohnen said. "On the way there, he kept making advances towards her saying, ‘We should meet for coffee sometime.' Or, ‘I wish we had never gotten together in this way. I should have met you in a different context,' certainly implying a sexual attraction in a manner that's wholly inappropriate for the circumstances."

Officer Anthony Arevalos - Allegations:

Feb. 20, 2010 -- Sexual penetration under color
of authority.
- No charges filed, under investigation

Dec. 29, 2010 -- Solicitation of a sex act by an officer
- Under investigation.

Feb. 20, 2011 -- Sexual battery of restrained woman
- Under investigation.

March 8, 2011 -- Sexual battery, false imprisonment,
assault under color of authority.
- Arraignment set March 21

The woman is the fourth alleged victim to come forward with accusations against the San Diego Police DUI patrol officer, but investigators said Wednesday that multiple other victims have contacted them privately since Officer Arevalos' arrest on sexual battery charges last week.

"If any person in their interaction with a police officer has concern about that stop, misconduct on the part of the police officer, or criminal allegations on the behavior of the police officer; we would like that person to come forward as soon as possible," San Diego Police Capt. Terry McManus said.

The woman in the Feb. 20 case is charged with DUI with a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit of .16.  She has not yet been arraigned.

Officer Arevalos is set to be arraigned Monday, after his arrest on sexual battery, false imprisonment, and assault under color of authority charges stemming from a DUI traffic stop of a different woman in the Gaslamp Quarter March 8.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and more charges could be added later.




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