Two of Arevalos' victims hope for justice to be served
Anthony Arevalos is shown in this video screen grab moments after a judge handed down his sentence Friday, February 10, 2012.
SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS8) - A former San Diego cop who sexually assaulted women during DUI traffic stops will be sentenced Friday morning. On Thursday evening, two of his victims told News 8 they doubt he has any remorse, and are hoping justice will be served.
Veteran officer Anthony Arevalos was convicted of eight felony counts and four misdemeanors on November 17. He had been accused of trying to elicit sex from several women he pulled over in the Gaslamp District.
"He deserves the same treatment as any other criminal," said Talia, one of Arevalos' victims who testified against him in court last fall.
"For him to get away with it would just send the complete wrong message to the whole city," added another victim, Lacy, who also took the stand. Neither of the two victims who spoke to News 8 on Thursday would provide their last names.
Last fall, jurors found Anthony Arevalos, 41, guilty of multiple counts of asking for a bribe, and assault and battery by a police officer.
However, Arevalos was acquitted of other serious charges, including sexual battery by restraint charges, and while he was found guilty of false imprisonment, those counts were reduced to misdemeanors.
Arevalos faces a maximum of ten years and four months in prison.
Lacy told News 8 that she no longer trusts law enforcement after her experience with Arevalos.
"It makes me feel not safe and scared," she said. "They used to be people I looked up to and respected."
Talia questions whether Arevalos is truly remorseful for what he has been found guilty of doing.
"I think he's sorry he got caught," she said. "I don't feel like he is remorseful, and I don't think he was considering how adversely any of his actions were going to affect his family and the people involved."
Arevalos, an 18-year SDPD veteran, was fired after allegations came to light in March that he tried to make a deal with women he stopped and sexually assaulted three of them. Most of the stops in question were for driving under the influence and happened between September 2009 and March of this year.
In her closing argument last week, Deputy District Attorney Sherry Thompson said Arevalos "used the Gaslamp like a playground to stop people as he saw fit."
Thompson told jurors that Arevalos asked the women, "What can you offer to get out of a DUI?"
Defense attorney Gretchen von Helms told the jury in her closing argument last November that there was reasonable doubt on many of the charges, saying some counts could be construed as misdemeanor conduct. She said most of the alleged victims were drunk and their testimony exaggerated.
Von Helms said some of the alleged victims sought benefits for their testimony, such as getting their DUI cases dismissed, while some have a vested interest in the outcome of the criminal case because they have filed claims against the city seeking monetary damages.