Officer Anthony Arevalos, 40, an 18-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department, has been arrested for accused sexual battery, false imprisonment and assault under the color of authority for an alleged incident stemming from a Tuesday traffic stop.
San Diego sex crimes detectives are widening their investigation of a fellow police officer charged with sexually assaulting a woman during a downtown traffic stop last week.
On Wednesday, they interviewed another woman who says officer Anthony Arevalos, 40, propositioned her after pulling her over last December.
"My client was pulled over by the officer back on December 29th about 1:30 in the morning as she was coming out of the Gaslamp," said attorney Kerry Armstrong, who represents a 20-year-old San Diego State University student now studying in Europe. "He (Arevalos) made several improper suggestions to her, several questions about things they could do for her to get out of the ticket."
Armstrong says his client, whom police questioned via Skype from Austria, rejected the alleged advances.
After last week's Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp Quarter, a 32-year-old woman Arevelos had pulled over on suspicion of DUI wound up not being arrested. But the next day, she filed a report that led to Arevalos being charged with multiple counts of sexual assault 'under the color of authority'.
Other lawyers say it's not uncommon for women to be propositioned by officers during traffic stops.
"I've had numerous clients over the years tell me about these suggestions and behavior," recalled attorney Marc Carlos. "Some are benign; others are not. No one's actually gone to the point of asking me to file something for them… But it does happen. And generally, they're attractive women."
Arevalos, relieved of his badge and weapon and suspended without pay, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.
Detectives are now looking, with fresh eyes, at a complaint a woman filed against him early last year, which resulted in no action being taken.
Former CHP officer Craig Peyer, convicted of murdering SDSU student Cara Knott after a freeway-ramp traffic stop in 1986, made a pattern and practice of propositioning women he had pulled over, according to several women who testified against him.
As a result, law enforcement authorities began advising women to drive to well-lighted areas -- in view of other people, if possible -- when officers signal them to stop.
"Scary" was a word used prominently by women interviewed Wednesday for their reaction to developments in the Arevalos case.
And if they were being propositioned by an officer?
"I think I would be shocked," said a woman who gave her name as Monique. "But I think I would just get his badge number and turn him in."
"I would rather get the ticket, than for him to take advantage," said a woman named Martha.
Arevalos is an 18-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department.