Four women took the stand in the preliminary hearing of former San Diego Police officer Anthony Arevalos accused of sexually assaulting eight women. Their testimony was graphic and disturbing. Artie Ojeda reports.
A former San Diego police officer, accused of harassing and detaining women during traffic stops, listened as women testified they were asked about boyfriends, breast implants, wet T-shirt contests and pubic hair.
Eight women now claim Anthony Arevalos acted inappropriately, or sexually abused them while he was on duty as a San Diego police officer.
“He told me at one point that if I just showed him my breasts or let him touch me, he would let me go,” one woman testified in a downtown courtroom at his preliminary hearing Monday.
The unidentified woman met Arevalos in October 2010 after she had been drinking with a girlfriend at the Whiskey Girl. The judge ordered the media not to show the woman's face or reveal her full name.
When she returned to her car on 4th Avenue around 2:15 a.m., she was pulled over by then-Officer Arevalos who kept her there for more than two hours and told her he wanted to get to know her as a person.
“I knew once he started asking me questions about my breasts or modeling or totally unrelated things that this is not normal,” she said. “I started to get worried because I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
The woman testified that Arevalos asked her if she was "well manicured" everywhere.
She testified that Arevalos pressed the breathalyzer test against her and moved his index finger against her nipple.
"And he said, 'Can you feel that? Does that feel good?’" the woman said. “’I said, 'Actually no, it kind of hurts' and he backed off at that point."
She also claimed Arevalos put his hands down her pants, a pair of low-rise jeans, while she was sitting in the car.
Under cross-examination, the witness said she didn’t try to honk her horn or get help from friends during the incident.
"Nobody pulled a gun on you or anything like that, right?” defense attorney Jan Ronis asked the woman. “Nobody threatened you with any harm or anything of that nature?"
"If you don't consider physical harm being asked to show your breasts, then no," the woman answered.
An attorney representing two of Arevalos’ alleged victims said the witness was a strong one for the prosecution.
“She was very exact on the facts,” Armstrong said. “She was very precise on her times. She tried to document everything after the fact which I thought was very good for the prosecution.”
Another woman said Arevalos didn’t act like a cop and tried to negotiate with her over a DUI citation.
Arevalos kept repeating “we need to think of something to get you out of this” according to the woman who said the traffic stop lasted more than an hour and a half.
"And I said, 'Well, by the book, what should you be doing right now?' And he said, 'I should be impounding your car.’ And I go, 'I think you need to impound my car,'" she said.
After that, Arevalos called the tow company to come and get the woman’s vehicle.
Arevalos is charged with false imprisonment, asking for a bribe, and other felonies.
His preliminary hearing could last three days.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is free on bail.