SAN DIEGO --
10News confirmed on Tuesday that investigators searched the locker of a San Diego police officer and found physical evidence that may link him to the sex crimes that he's accused of committing on the job.
On Monday, Arevalos pleaded not guilty to 10 criminal counts involving three different women who claim he pulled them over in the Gaslamp District.
One of those women, who was stopped as she left the Mardi Gras celebration in the Gaslamp two weeks ago, told investigators Arevalos not only sexually assaulted her inside the bathroom of a 7-Eleven store, he also asked her to hand over her bra and panties.
Although Arevalos gave the undergarments back to the woman, police sources told 10News word circulating around the department is that a search of Arevalos' locker at the traffic division in Serra Mesa last Wednesday uncovered more than one pair of women's panties. Other sources would not go into those details but confirmed there is physical evidence.
"If there's any physical evidence that connects this police officer with a victim, then that physical evidence can be very damning," said former District Attorney Paul Pfingst. "If police and prosecutors find that there are undergarments that are connected to a victim, it's very difficult to say it never happened."
Pfingst is not privy to the facts of this case but has prosecuted cases similar to the one against Arevalos. He said the only two defenses are it never happened or it was consensual.
"Then the consent defense under these circumstances will almost always lose because a police officer stopping a woman at night – there is no consent," said Pfingst.
Also, if there is physical evidence connecting Arevalos to any of the nine women who now claim he acted inappropriately, Pfingst said it will be impossible to say it never happened.
Arevalos' attorney Philip Gagnon told 10News he hasn't been provided details of what was in that locker. He said there were birthday gifts for Arevalos' sergeant but said he has no idea if women's underwear was there or if it was, that it can be connected to any of the alleged victims.
Gagnon said the police department announced details of the case against Arevalos before they had the facts. Gagnon said he is working to get those facts which he hopes will clear Arevalos.
Because the search warrant is sealed, it is not known what exactly was found or how it could impact Arevalos' case.
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