Has justice been served? The San Diego police department DUI officer nearly got the maximum today at sentencing, as DUI lawyers watched. The Gaslamp District drunk driving cop got 8 years, 8 months in prison.
San Diego PD DUI Officer Anthony Arevalos was sentenced to eight years, eight months for 8 felony and 4 misdemeanor charges involving 5 women, including multiple counts of sexual battery by restraint, asking for a bribe and assault and battery by a police officer.
The total prison sentence is 1 year short of the maximum punishment, say DUI attorneys.
Arevalos, an 18-year San Diego PD veteran, was fired after allegations came to light last March that he tried to make “deals” with women he stopped for allegedly being DUI and that he sexually assaulted three of them.
The judge said Arevalos used the power of his badge to violate women. “That’s a crooked cop, and crooked cops go to prison,” Fraser said.
The San Diego Superior Court judge said that after years of service that included saving a child’s life and numerous commendations, something went wrong with the officer.
“There are bad apples in every department,” he said. “They must be shown that if they have conduct like this, they will be punished.”
“This was not a mistake,” said one of the victims, identified as Melissa W. “Mistakes happen once, not over a period of years.”
Deputy District Attorney Sherry Thompson read a letter written by a woman who testified that she was assaulted by Arevalos in a downtown convenience store bathroom.
“Jane Doe” wrote that she was raised to respect law enforcement, but feared there were others like Arevalos in the ranks of the SDPD.
The defendant, in a tearful and halting statement, said he was sorry for the pain he brought to the victims, his family and the San Diego Police Department: “I realize how many people I’ve hurt with what I’ve done. I just want to say I’m sorry to all I hurt.”
California Criminal Defense Lawyer Gretchen Von Helms argued that her DUI cop client should be given probation, and asked that the judge give a balanced appraisal of his life.
Arevalos’ life unraveled around the time of the assaults, having lost his home and intimacy with his wife, and acknowledged his boorish behavior around women. “Do you get 10 years for being a pig?” the San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney asked. “That’s my question.”
The defendant was also ordered to pay more than $2,000 to one of the victims, who is receiving counseling. He also was ordered to register as a sex offender for life.