A former San Diego police officer is about to face his accusers: seven women who claim he molested or abused them during traffic stops.
Prosecutors and defense attorney have just finished their opening statements to the jury in the trial of former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos.
Arevalos faces 21 felony counts, including assault under color of authority.
Several of those alleged victims have already filed claims or lawsuits against the police department, seeking payment for that alleged sexual abuse.
Prosecutor Sherry Thompson told jurors Thursday that Arevolos preyed on female D-U-I suspects, offering to let them go without arrest if they gave him their undergarments.
"In the bathroom she takes off her pants, she takes off her underwear, and he is impressed. Says I want to touch you,” Thompson told jurors. ”[He] says it will be easier if you lean up against me."
Arevalos is also accused of groping several women, when he put them in his patrol car, or walked them into the police station.
Seven of the alleged female victims are expected to testify, along with an undercover police officer.
The 41 year-old former officer who was fired in March faces 19 years in prison if convicted.
Defense attorney Jan Ronis reminded jurors that Arevalos is considered "innocent" until the state proves its case.
He urged them to be skeptical about the testimony they'll hear from the alleged victims
“The prosecution is going to be asking you to convict Mr. Arevalos on the testimony of seven individuals all of whom their state of intoxication range from at least under the influence to in fact drunk and well over what the minimum is in the state of California,” Ronis said.
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