How much do they know and how long did they know it? That's the question now being asked of the San Diego Police Department after court documents were released to the media that allege a pattern of sexual misconduct by an 18-year veteran of the force.
”It's disgusting and I tell you I represent two of the named girls. Both are upset. Both afraid of police officers right now, especially the one who was actually touched, she's terrified,” said attorney Kerry Armstrong.
Anthony Arevalos, 40, faces 18 felony counts, including sexual battery, receiving a bribe, and assault under the color of authority.
The charges stem from alleged incidents involving five women from 2009 to 2011. Many of them were stopped in the Gaslamp for DUI.
In one case, an affidavit for a search warrant says Arevalos took a woman into the bathroom of the 7/11 on J Street in March, where she took off her panties and was sexually assaulted.
The court documents say it was part of a “deal” Arevalos made so she would not get a DUI.
According to the documents, she reported the case to the police and during a phone call with police detectives listening in, he told her he liked it best "when the shirt came up and the pants went down. I didn't expect your body to be as nice and wonderful as it was."
“I was just surprised he fell for something like that,” said Armstrong. “But I guess if you're stupid enough to take someone into 7/11 when you know there's cameras inside that's not using common sense either.”
Armstrong says he has heard from two sources, one of which has talked to the District Attorney’s Office, that police officers knew about this alleged misconduct for many years and did not report it to superiors.
“The police department says after its own investigation, Arevalos was fired April 14,” the affidavit states.
Armstrong says he is also dismayed to think the misconduct could have gone back as far as 15 years ago.
“The problem is, from what I understand, other officers knew about his misconduct 15 years ago, granted not the higher-ups, but at least some police officers maybe sergeants knew about it and did nothing,” said Armstrong.
"That is not evidence, that is gossip at this point,” said attorney Gretchen von Helms.
The police department would not comment further. The District Attorney’s Office also said it cannot comment on a pending case.