A gay San Francisco Sheriff’s Department lieutenant who’d pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge is back in custody after skipping a court hearing this week.
In a plea bargain reached in May, Lieutenant Vincent Calvarese, 49, entered his plea to a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge just before his trial was about to start. A no contest plea is similar to a guilty plea.
The charge stems from a July 2012 incident in which Calvarese got into an altercation with a man who’s claimed that he and Calvarese had had an exclusive dating relationship.
Susan Fahey, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, said Thursday, September 19 that deputies arrested Calvarese Wednesday on a $75,000 bench warrant.
A judge issued the warrant Tuesday after Calvarese failed to appear in court, according to San Francisco Superior Court records. Calvarese also hadn’t shown up for at least one of the domestic violence classes a judge had ordered him to attend as part of his sentence, as KTVU indicated on its website Wednesday night.
Calvarese was arrested at a location on 17th Street, which is where he lives, but Fahey declined to say where exactly the arrest was made.
“We had contact with him, and we were aware of the warrant, so it was our duty to arrest if we had contact,” said Fahey. She declined to say what had initiated the contact.
Fahey said that medical personnel determined that Calvarese should be taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he remained in custody as of Thursday afternoon. She couldn’t say exactly why he’d been hospitalized.
Calvarese was placed on unpaid leave Wednesday, said Fahey. His next court date is Monday to discuss his nonappearance this week.
In an interview Friday, Erin Dervin, Calvarese’s attorney, said, “I have no idea” why he didn’t appear in court this week and added, “I couldn’t tell you that if I did know.”
Dervin, who declined to discuss Calvarese’s medical issues, also said, “I don’t know officially what’s going on in terms of his probation accountability issues. I expect to know more on Monday.”
Rhab Boughn, compliance and public records officer for the San Francisco Fire Department, said that department personnel were dispatched to a medical call at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Calvarese’s address. Boughn said a fire engine and an ambulance responded to the scene, which is standard procedure for such a call, but he couldn’t provide more details without Calvarese’s authorization or a subpoena.
During the fight last summer, Calvarese allegedly followed the victim and pushed and punched him. At one point, he pushed the victim against a wall and punched him repeatedly. The victim suffered welts and similar injuries, but pushed and punched back. Based on video and witness accounts, however, Calvarese was the aggressor, authorities said.
Calvarese has repeatedly declined the Bay Area Reporter’s requests for comment over the past several months. The victim, who’s also declined to talk about the case, didn’t respond to a phone call or text message Thursday.
The incident occurred at what was then known as Gold’s Gym, 2301 Market Street. The gym is now Fitness SF.
Under the agreement, Calvarese was sentenced to three years of adult probation, 150 hours of community service, 52 weeks of counseling, and has a stay-away order from the victim. Assistant District Attorney Ilana Jacobs prosecuted the case.
In May, Fahey said Calvarese had been back at work “for some time” and had been assigned to administrative duties with no public contact. She noted the disciplinary process would be overseen by the undersheriff and not Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who pleaded no contest to a similar charge in his own domestic violence incident in 2012.