The City of San Diego will pay almost $800,000 to a woman who says she was violently sexually assaulted by a former police officer imprisoned for sexual battery and assault.
"I did the brave thing,” the woman identified only as Jane Roe told NBC 7 moments after the settlement was announced in San Diego federal court Friday.
“I drug everything out. I was honest to my core. Is it going to change the future? No. But I made a difference for myself and that was the most important thing,” she said.
Roe was not among the women involved with the criminal case against former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos.
In 2011, jurors convicted Arevalos of battery and sexual assault that occurred over two years.
The 18-year SDPD veteran had a practice of preying on young, female drivers in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Roe chose to file her own suit in federal court.
Her lawsuit alleges Arevalos "forcibly and unlawfully assaulted and battered" Roe on February 20, 2010. The suit says Arevalos was on duty and wearing his SDPD uniform when he "placed his hand inside the plaintiff's pants and grabbed her genitals."
After the sexual assault, the lawsuit says Arevalos placed a bag over Roe's head, "nearly suffocating her," before he took her to jail.
The City of San Diego denied those allegations in a document filed with the court on July 27, 2012.
On Friday, Roe said choosing to come forward was difficult. She knew she did something wrong by choosing to drive a vehicle under the influence but she also knew she didn't deserve to be brutally sexually assaulted.
In federal court, Arevalos' attorney accepted the settlement by phone on his behalf.
By accepting the payment of $795,000, Roe releases all parties from any liability.
The plaintiff’s attorney, Mary Francis Prevost, called the settlement fair and reasonable and said that if the case had gone to trial, the city could have been facing a penalty in the millions.
NBC 7 reached out to Assistant City Attorney Paul Cooper Friday for comment on the settlement.
Cooper gave NBC 7 the following statement:
“Over the past two years, our attorneys have worked diligently to limit the liability to the City due to the criminal acts of former police officer Anthony Arevalos. This settlement resolves the lawsuit which contained some of the most egregious allegations filed against Mr. Arevalos and brings us one step closer to closing a sad and unfortunate chapter for the City of San Diego.”
The City Council has to finalize the settlement and the city has to disperse funds by Nov. 25.
The City Attorney's office also confirmed that the city has paid out $2.3 million to settle lawsuits related to Arevalos' misconduct. There is still one case pending in federal court.