New sex accusations yet another black eye for SDPD - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

New sex accusations yet another black eye for SDPD

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The San Diego Police Department is dealing with another blow to its image after allegations were made once again that one of its officers sexually assaulted several women while on duty.

Anthony Arevalos was sentenced to eight years in prison for similar crimes. His lawyers were in court Friday asking for a new trial.

A public relations specialist CBS News 8 spoke to says despite all this bad publicity -- the department will recover.

Former cop turned convicted sex offender, Anthony Arevalos' hearing in court Friday comes just one day after the SDPD confirmed another officer is being investigated for groping four women while doing routine pat-downs while on duty. 

The officer in question is Chris Hays, a former Marine Corporal and married father of two, whose father-in-law is an assistant chief on the force. 

"You can't touch or cup private areas of the body," Chief William Lansdowne said. "In this case, we believe and there are no witnesses to this, that he touched them in places he should not have."

Chief William Lansdowne sat down with CBS News 8 Thursday, saying the investigation began in December when one woman came forward, and after following up with previous stops Hays had made the department found three more potential victims. 

"One was a domestic violence case, one had shoplifting, one was a homeless person and one was on the street," Chief Lansdowne said. 

Public Relations Specialist and former city hall employee, Jeff Marston says Lansdowne's willingness to talk about this most recent case helps take away some of the negative attention the department is once again dealing with. 

"He's been an accessible chief. He's not somebody that hides behind doors," Marston said. "The worst thing you can do is just push the public to the side and say, 'well we can't talk about that right now, we'll get back to you in a couple weeks.'" 

Still, Marston admits this so-called 'black eye' will never completely go away. Moving forward, Marston advises the police department to continue communicating openly with the public. 

"You're probably gonna be dealing with community meetings and all those kinds of things to put the public's fears to rest," Marston said. 

Chief Lansdowne meanwhile, maintains he's doing everything he can to make things right. 

"Arevalos', which was a terrible case...a tragedy for the department was investigated and prosecuted by the department and he was put in prison. This case is being investigated and will be prosecuted if the District Attorney issues the case," he said. 

The chief says this case is very different from Arevalos' in that there was never skin to skin contact. Hays is on paid leave.

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