Sex Crimes Accuser Sharply Questioned

Woman insisted the city had "prior knowledge" of Arevalos' pattern of conduct

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCSanDiego
    Anthony Arevalos consults with his defense attorney Jan Ronis during a break in testimony October 26, 2011.

    The last of seven accusers to testify in the sex crimes case against a former San Diego police officer endured an emotional, rough-and-tumble time on the witness stand Friday.

    Her account of being groped and fondled by Anthony Arevalos after a traffic stop was sharply challenged by his defense team.

    On Thursday, "Jane Doe" -- as identified in court, with orders that her face not be shown in media coverage -- tearfully described Arevalos’ behavior in a 7/11 restroom in the Gaslamp Quarter in graphic terms.

    Key Witness Testifies in Ex-Cop Sex Assault Trial

    [DGO] Key Witness Testifies in Ex-Cop Sex Assault Trial
    On Friday an alleged victim of a rogue San Diego police officer cried as she recounted how the officer followed her into a public restroom and stood in front of the door while she removed her panties in exchange for getting out of a DUI charge.

    She said she was nude from the waist down, except for her socks, and that her breasts were exposed during the incident -- insisting she felt under duress and in a state of shock.

    Store video surveillance cameras captured images of the two entering the restroom, and exiting less than two minutes later.

    Arevalos faces 21 felony counts of sexual assault, battery, and soliciting bribes.

    The defense cross-examination focused not only on the March 8th, post-Mardi Gras encounter, but details of two subsequent traffic stops involving Jane Doe and her legal claim against Arevalos and the city.

    "I was in shock;  I couldn't believe this was happening to me," the woman testified Friday, her voice choking as she fought to hold back tears.  "That I was really in a bathroom with a police officer telling me to do these things."

    At one point, she identified the panties she was wearing that night, saying Arevalos returned them to her after he groped her.

    In the course of further testimony it came out that  a few weeks later , Jane Doe was pulled over by other officers on suspicion of DUI, this time in East Village.

    Reading from a police report, defense attorney Gretchen von Helms characterized Jane Doe's behavior as a "meltdown".

    "And you're sitting on the hood of your car, can you recall that?" von Helms asked the witness.

    "No."

    "Okay, well, you were shaking; you recall that?" the attorney continued.  "You're screaming?"

    "Correct."

    "You're saying, 'Don't touch me, don't touch me, don't get near me!' to these male police officers, right?"

    "Correct."

    Then von Helms turned to the subject of Jane Doe's legal claim against not only Arevalos, but the city of San Diego -- for unspecified but “unlimited” damages.

    The defense team's apparent contention: She wants big bucks from the city's 'deep pockets'.

    "I have never discussed the monetary value of this case with my lawyers," she said.  "The only thing I've ever discussed is that he (Arevalos) gets put away, and the (city) doesn't ever let this happen again."

    Jane Doe also insisted the city had "prior knowledge" of Arevalos' pattern of conduct.

    "My lawyers advised me going after the city," she said, "because (the city) needed to be held responsible for knowingly letting him continue doing what he was doing."

    Trial testimony from other witnesses continues Monday.

    Arevalos was fired from the police department last spring.

    Convictions on all counts carry 19 years in prison.

    Several legal claims and lawsuits are pending against Arevalos and the city.

    At least 18 DUI cases in which he previously was involved  have been dismissed.