In the second day of the pre-trial hearing for former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos, a woman claimed she was given three breathalyzer tests and offered a deal to get out of a DUI - hand over her panties and the paperwork would disappear.
The woman, referred to as Jane Doe during court proceedings, is considered the key witness in the case against Arevalos. She is one of eight women who claim Arevalos acted inappropriately or sexually abused them while he was on duty.
The woman described the night of the Mardi Gras celebration in the Gaslamp when, faced with a DUI arrest that could derail her pursuit of a Masters degree in Education, she agreed to go into a convenience store bathroom and hand over her underwear to a uniformed officer.
“He needed something from me to make it worth his while,” she testified.
She told the court that she was surprised when the officer followed her into the bathroom, watched her undress and used his finger to stroke her vagina.
“He said I would be more comfortable if I put my head on his shoulder and leaned against him,” the woman told the downtown courtroom sobbing. “He put his arm around me.”
Once outside the bathroom, she said Arevalos asked for her phone number so they could meet again so he could update her on her breathalyzer results. She said the officer also offered to return her underwear.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Gretchen von Helms asked Jane Doe saw Arevalos lock the bathroom door. The woman said she did not see him lock it but just believed it to be locked.
Under cross, the woman also described how, once in the bathroom, Arevalos backed away from her when he felt her tense up.
During the first day of the preliminary hearing. several women testified they were asked about boyfriends, breast implants, wet T-shirt contests and pubic hair when stopped by Arevalos.
“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 18-year veteran of the San Diego police department has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is free on bail.
This case is just one in a recent series of criminal investigations involving San Diego police officers. Read more in our special section "Trouble Behind the Badge."