Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Gay sheriff’s lieutenant headed to trial in domestic violence case

Vincent Calvarese (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)

An out gay San Francisco sheriff’s lieutenant accused of domestic violence is headed to trial after his attorney and prosecutors failed to reach a settlement.

Vincent Calvarese, 48, was arrested in July after an incident in which he allegedly followed the victim into the locker room at Gold’s Gym, 2301 Market Street, and struck him, pushed him against a wall, and punched him. He also told the other man, “I’m a captain. I can have you arrested,” according to court records.

Calvarese has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor counts of domestic violence-related battery, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, and false imprisonment. He’s posted bail and was released from custody shortly after his arrest.

Thursday, November 1 in San Francisco Superior Court, Judge Susan Breall said, “This case is not going to settle” and set a January 3 hearing to determine a trial date.

Before Thursday’s session, Calvarese, who appeared in court, referred questions to Erin Dervin, his attorney. Outside the courtroom, Dervin said she and the defendant are “anxious to go to trial.” She said they didn’t settle the case because “Mr. Calvarese isn’t guilty. He didn’t do anything.”

The district attorney “has a misimpression of the facts in this case” and “the victim … the alleged victim, is a liar,” Dervin said. Asked what he’s lied about, she said, “About everything.”

During the incident, a couple of witnesses tried to hold back Calvarese, but he broke free and continued attacking the victim, who’s in his 30s and suffered welts and similar injuries, according to the district attorney’s office. Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the DA’s office, has said besides witnesses, there is also video evidence to support the charges.

In a follow-up interview today (Friday, November 2), Dervin said, “There are witnesses who saw the ending portion” of the incident, but not the beginning, and there’s no surveillance footage showing what happened in the locker room. (She said video recording isn’t permitted in that part of the gym.)

Whether the men even had a relationship is also being disputed. Court documents indicate that the victim claims he and Calvarese had an “exclusive” dating relationship.

But Dervin said, “There was no exclusive dating relationship” between the two men, and for this to be a case of domestic violence, they would have to have had “a romantic relationship of some sort.”

She said Calvarese and the victim had had a “sexual event” that would most accurately be described as “a one-night stand.”

The night of the incident at the gym, Calvarese had initially approached the victim because he was “concerned” about him and “the discussion went south,” Dervin said.

The victim “did not want to hear Mr. Calvarese’s concerns” and eventually spit on him and came after him, Dervin said. “Mr. Calvarese defended himself,” she said.

According to the district attorney’s office, Calvarese is 6 feet 3 inches and weights 245 pounds, while the victim, whom the Bay Area Reporter is not identifying because he’s the victim of a crime, is 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 200 pounds.

Court records indicate that Calvarese, who’s still on the job, had sought to plead only to a misdemeanor charge of fighting in public. Dervin declined to discuss the settlement negotiations.

Assistant District Attorney Ilana Jacobs is prosecuting the case.

Calvarese’s boss, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, is serving probation after pleading guilty to a domestic violence-related charge earlier this year and, as noted by KGO-TV, District Attorney George Gascón is urging Mirkarimi to recuse himself from duties including disciplining personnel charged with domestic violence.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 2, 2012 @ 4:37 pm PST
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