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Ex-cop convicted of 12 counts in women's DUI stops

Jurors will deliberate for a fourth day Thursday as they try to decide the fate of a former San Diego police officer accused of trying to elicit sex from seven women he pulled over in the Gaslamp D

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former San Diego police officer accused of trying to elicit sex from seven women he pulled over in the Gaslamp District was convicted of eight felony counts and four misdemeanors Thursday.

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.

Sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 19.

Judge Jeffrey Fraser ordered Arevalos to be taken into custody without bail.

Arevalos had faced more than 19 years in prison if convicted on all 21 felony counts.

Jurors got the case a week ago Thursday and deliberated for a few minutes before going home for the weekend. Deliberations began in earnest Monday. The jury left after three hours Wednesday because a juror had a previous commitment.

The verdicts were read just after 4 p.m. Thursday.

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 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.