SAN DIEGO — A veteran police officer was sentenced Friday to nearly nine years for sexual battery and other crimes in a case that was part of a series of embarrassing officer-misconduct incidents that led to department-wide scrutiny in the nation's eighth-largest city.
The case of 41-year-old Anthony Arevalos involved female motorists he pulled over.
Judge Jeffrey Fraser said the eight-year, eight-month sentence was meant to punish Arevalos and act as a deterrent to any other potential violations of public trust by officers.
A jury convicted Arevalos of crimes against five women during an 18-month period in 2009 and 2010. Many of the victims were intoxicated when they were stopped in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp area, a district with many bars and restaurants.
Fraser said it was significant that the officer targeted intoxicated young women who could not call on anyone else for help.
"The defendant was their protector and he became a predator," the judge said. "If we can't trust police to protect us, who can we trust?"
The judge said the crimes will have a permanent impact on the victims.
"They will forever fear the police," Fraser said.
Officer misconduct allegations ranging from drunken driving to domestic violence and rape began adding up early last year, and the police chief announced new measures including beefing up internal-affairs staffing and ethics training, a review of use-of-force tactics and a series of meetings with all 2,300 uniformed and civilian employees.