Former West Sacramento police officer Sergio Alvarez did not force women into having sex and stands accused of sexual assault because of lies, his defense attorney told a Yolo Superior Court jury Friday.
“I’m not saying he’s a good cop. I’m saying he didn’t force victims,” defense attorney J. Toney said during closing arguments before jurors began their deliberations Friday afternoon.
Alvarez, 38, faces life in prison if convicted on the 27 counts alleged by Yolo County prosecutors. The counts include rape and oral copulation by use of authority and aggravated kidnapping connected to his alleged attacks on women in 2011 and 2012 while patrolling West Sacramento streets on the graveyard shift.
Alvarez, a West Sacramento native, joined the city’s Police Department in 2007. Allegations surfaced in September 2012 that he sexually assaulted a woman while in uniform. Other alleged victims came forward, and Alvarez’s trial focuses on alleged attacks against five women.
A five-month investigation by West Sacramento and Sacramento police led to a Yolo County grand jury’s indictment and Alvarez’s arrest in February 2013.
Toney said Thursday that the West Sacramento Police Department was embarrassed that one of its own was having sex with prostitutes and drug addicts.
“This is a furious Police Department who throws the book at an officer who was acting improperly,” he said Friday.
Yolo County Deputy District Attorney Garrett Hamilton in his summation Thursday drew a disturbing portrait of a rogue cop who targeted vulnerable women for forced sex in the back of and outside his cruiser on patrol.
“They wouldn’t report and they wouldn’t be believed if they did,” Hamilton said Thursday.
Toney on Friday said his client admitted to sexual contact with three of the women and said none was forced into sex acts or kidnapped to other locales for sex.
The defense attorney said Alvarez never ignored service calls to have sex, contrary to assertions by prosecutors.
“It’s when he’s riding on routine patrol,” Toney told the jury. “He’s roving on his own time.”
One woman, Toney said, did not consider herself a victim and was sexually involved with Alvarez for months after their first encounter.
“She’s flirtatious. She’s turned on by the man,” Toney said, adding that the woman “continued in a relationship that she started.”
Toney said the testimony of the women – drug-addicted, addled and working the streets – couldn’t be trusted.
One woman was “not only a liar, but a fairly accomplished liar,” he said. Another was portrayed as a “pathetic, bipolar woman with no memory.”
“We’re dealing with five addicts who’ve taken drugs to the point where what you think of as common sense isn’t,” Toney told the jury.
But Hamilton in his rebuttal said it was Alvarez who lied.
“The defense in this case can be summed up as follows,” Hamilton said. “According to Sergio Alvarez, all these women are basically liars. That’s his defense. Why would all these women wait until September and October 2012 to tell these big lies?”