East County News Service
October 14, 2014 (San Diego)--The City of San Diego has thus far had to pay over $8 million to settle cases with 14 victims who said they were sexually assaulted or subjected to inappropriate sexual advances by former San Diego Police Officer Anthony Arevalos. Almost two dozen women have lodged complaints ranging from groping to harassment by Officer Arevalos over a number of years.
The latest claim is a woman who alleged that Officer Arevalos molested her after picking her up for truancy in the 1990s, when she was 14 years old. The woman claims she complained to David Bejerano, who went on to become Police Chief, and that he covered up the incident. He denies the accusation and says he was not assigned to the Southern Division at the time, UT San Diego reports.
The City’s Risk Management Department agreed to pay $50,000 to settle this claim, the maximum that can be paid without requiring City Council’s approval. The City did not admit fault in the settlement. The woman’s name has not been released because she was a minor at the time of the alleged crime.
The city entered into the settlement after Dan Gilleon, an attorney who has represented several of Arevalos’ victims, sued the city alleging that it routinely rejects claims in order to force victims to incur legal costs to take the city to court.
Arevalos has previously been sentenced to eight years in prison for his crimes against other women.
While insurance has paid for a portion of the City’s settlements, taxpayers are picking up the balance of the claims.
The new San Diego Police Chief, Shelley Zimmerman, has said that she is taking steps to improve the department’s tarnished image through improving hiring practices, training, supervision and oversight.