Crime, Fire + Courts

No plea for West Sacramento officer accused of sex assaults

By From page A1 | February 28, 2013

Sergio Alvarez at his arraignment on Thursday. Deo Ferrer,Daily Democrat/Courtesy pool photo

Sergio Alvarez at his arraignment on Thursday. Deo Ferrer,Daily Democrat/Courtesy pool photo

WOODLAND — A West Sacramento police officer accused of sexually assaulting six women while on duty made his first court appearance as a jail inmate Wednesday, but did not enter a plea to the 35 felony counts he faces.

Sergio Alvarez, 37, sat alone in the jury box in Yolo Superior Court Commissioner Janene Beronio’s courtroom, clad in a gray-and-white striped jail-issued jumpsuit, his hands cuffed to a chain around his waist.

His attorney, Erin Dervin of Sacramento’s Mastagni, Holstedt, Amick, Miller & Johnsen law firm, asked that the hearing be put off to March 7 for a plea entry and a bid to reduce Alvarez’s $26.3 million bail.

Prosecuting attorney Garrett Hamilton requested that Beronio uphold a previous order sealing the transcript of the Yolo County grand jury proceedings that led to Alvarez’s indictment last Sunday.

Hamilton also said he would release to Alvarez’s legal counsel the names of the six alleged victims in the case — whose identities have been kept confidential — “with a protective order that they only be used … to determine whether (the attorneys) have a conflict of interest representing this defendant.”

Dervin declined to comment as she left the courthouse.

Hamilton referred questions to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven, who did not elaborate on the allegations in the case but said his office would oppose any attempt to slash Alvarez’s bail.

Raven said the $26.3 million figure “is set by schedule based on the seriousness of the charges, and we will be arguing that bail stays at that amount.”

Alvarez is accused of using his position as a West Sacramento police officer to rape, kidnap, sodomize and orally copulate six women between October 2011 and last September, allegedly threatening the women with arrest and incarceration if they refused his demands.

Police have said the women, whose ages range from 20 to 47, “frequented the West Capitol Avenue area” of West Sacramento that historically has been associated with prostitution activity.

Following the arraignment, Alvarez was returned to the Solano County Jail in Fairfield, where he’s being housed in order to avoid his chances of encountering someone he has previously arrested, said Yolo County sheriff’s Capt. Robin Faille, commander of the Yolo County Jail.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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