A San Diego woman who was victimized by a former San Diego police officer will receive millions in a legal settlement announced Thursday.
In a settlement negotiated between "Jane Doe" and the City of San Diego, the plaintiff will receive $5.9 million. Of that, $3 million will go toward attorneys' fees.
Attorneys on both sides and San Diego's Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman praised Jane Doe for her courage in coming forward.
Even in her legal victory, the woman at the heart of the case wanted to remain anonymous.
Her legal team said their client wanted the victory to be about all other Jane Does, all of the other nameless victims.
“She’s very proud to have played a part to ensure this does not happen to anyone else again,” attorney Linda Workman said.
Former SDPD Officer Anthony Arevalos Sex Assault Case in Images
"Jane Doe" filed a claim of police misconduct after her interaction with then-officer Anthony Arevalos inside a 7-Eleven store bathroom on March 8, 2011.
According to prosecutors, Arevalos conducted a routine traffic stop on Jane Doe and then suggested the two of them go into the nearby convenience store.
The two entered the restroom with the agreement that she would give him her panties, and in exchange he would not charge her for a DUI.
Jane Doe's lawsuit was one of 13 filed by victims of Arevalos, who was convicted in November 2011 of multiple felony counts of sexual battery, assault and asking for bribes while in uniform.
Testimony from the various victims led to his sentence of eight years, eight months in prison.
The former officer wept when he was sentenced for preying on women in the popular Gaslamp Quarter from 2009 to 2011.
As a result of the Arevalos scandal, the San Diego Police Department faced a wave of criticism and public scrutiny and the City of San Diego faced more than a dozen civil lawsuits.
“It’s a new day and a new order, a new chief, a new policy implemented to improve the safety of women and people in this city,” said Jane Doe’s attorney Browne Greene.
Under Chief Zimmerman, the SDPD now requires that all officers adhere to a mandatory reporting policy for officer misconduct.
More than 150 patrol officers currently wear body cameras. By end of the next year, the department plans to have body cameras on all patrol officers.
The Department of Justice launched an audit of the department. Zimmerman said she meets next week with investigators to discuss their findings.
“We are glad that we can put this behind us so we can focus on our future and rebuild our police department,” Zimmerman said.
In an interview with NBC 7, the plaintiff said she wanted to change the way San Diego police do business. Part of the original suit asked for federal monitor. That demand was not met in this settlement.
However, her attorneys say changes in the department since then have satisfied their client.
“The effect of this settlement with all these manners Chief Zimmerman has implemented is going to save the city a lot of money in the future and I’m not even talking about the human cost,” Greene said.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said $5.7 million of the settlement will be paid by insurance carriers with the City of San Diego paying the $200,000 balance.