Former police officer Arevalos released early from prison - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Former police officer Arevalos released early from prison

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SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - A former San Diego police officer sent to prison four years ago for sexually assaulting women during traffic stops in the Gaslamp District was released from custody over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

Anthony Arevalos, 45, was discharged from the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility on Sunday, three days after being transferred to the Otay Mesa penitentiary from Avenal State Prison in Kings County, corrections Lt. Philip Bracamonte said.

He was convicted in November 2011 of felony and misdemeanor charges involving five women stopped in the Gaslamp district, including multiple counts of sexual battery by restraint, asking for a bribe and assault and battery by a police officer. He was acquitted of other serious charges involving two other women. 

Talia Tortora testified she was the first victim in a series in which Arevalos would violate woman while on duty.

"It seems somewhat like a slap on the wrist fro him and to a degree, a slap on the face to everyone that was a victim to any of this antics," said Talia Tortora. 

It was not immediately clear why the former lawman served less than half the prescribed custody term, though he had no disciplinary issues on his prison record, Bracamonte said.

Arevalos had been an officer with the San Diego Police Department for 18 years when he was fired over accusations that he had tried to extort sexual favors from female motorists and sexually assaulted three of them.

The purported reason for most of the traffic stops involved in the case was suspicion of drunken driving. The incidents occurred between September 2009 and March 2011.

Another victim to step forward and accuse Arevalos of wrongdoing settled a federal lawsuit against the city for $5.9 million.

The woman, identified throughout the proceedings only as "Jane Doe", testified in Arevalos' criminal trial that he forced her into a convenience store restroom in March 2011 and demanded that she give him her panties and show her breasts. He also placed his finger in her vaginal area, she said.

"He can't be a cop again which offers you a little bit of security, but I hope that it is done for him," said Tortora. 

RELATED: Arevalos lawsuit settled for $5.9M

During his sentencing hearing, Arevalos, in a tearful and halting statement, apologized to the victims, his family and his police colleagues.

"I forgive him and I hope he finds peace so he can make peace with his family," said Tortora. 

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