Sexual assault victim under city surveillance: San Diego city attorney pays for private investigator

SAN DIEGO - The city of San Diego paid for a private investigator to track, record and document the daily activities of a sexual assault victim. The victim has sued the city over a sexual assault suffered at the hands of an on-duty San Diego police officer.

PHOTOS: City pays to track sex assault victim

"They have private detectives following me around, videotaping myself, my family, my friends, my co-workers," said the woman, only known to the public as Jane Doe.

The video shows Doe pumping gas, ordering coffee and socializing with family and friends.

Doe's lawyers provided the surveillance video to Team 10. They said it was revealed in the discovery process of Doe's civil suit against the city.

She is one of 13 women who were sexually assaulted by former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos. Doe is the only one who has not settled her case. Twelve other women settled their cases with the city for a total of $2.3 million.

Arevalos will spend more than eight years in state prison for pulling women over for traffic violations and then sexually assaulting them.

Courts agreed to protect Doe's identity during Arevalos' trial and the civil legal process.

San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne called Doe's testimony and assistance in convicting Arevalos "courageous," according to depositions obtained by Team 10.

In addition to unspecified monetary damages, Doe and her attorneys are asking for independent oversight of the San Diego Police Department.

In defending the lawsuit, lawyers with the City Attorney's Office filed legal documents claiming Doe "bribed officer Arevalos with her panties" to get out of a ticket, but in recent weeks, the attorneys filed a strike motion to take back that phrase.

Doe said the surveillance means the city is fishing for a way out of the lawsuit.

"In the beginning, they said I was doing a good thing coming forward and exposing the corruption, and now they seem to be attacking me," Doe said.

Private investigator reports to the City Attorney's Office paint a vivid picture of a woman captured in seemingly normal situations, yet described as promiscuous and flirtatious.

One interaction documented in the reports said Doe was "kissing and hugging her boyfriend in public; attired in shorts and bending fully over ... on several occasions."

"There were times when I'd be driving and it would seem like someone was following me … that the same car was behind me for too long and I'd just shrug it off thinking maybe I was overreacting," Doe said in her exclusive interview with Team 10. "Why would the city follow me? I was a victim. It didn't make sense to me."

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith expressed concern the surveillance video was leaked to Team 10. He said his lawyers had not decided if they would use it in court, and said it was part of their investigative process with the case.

Goldsmith called surveillance in a case like this routine. He said it was not meant to intimidate Doe, and is simply standard legal practice in a civil lawsuit.

"Some people think it's insensitive," Goldsmith said. "I can't address that. That's what practicing law is."

Goldsmith said Doe and her lawyers leaked the surveillance footage to apply public pressure for the city to settle the case for more than was prudent.

"We're responsible for what this dirt bag did, and we have a victim who is a hero. But that doesn't mean we make a bunch of people wealthy, rich over it," Goldsmith said.

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