Hays surrenders, begins serving sentence

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The former San Diego Police Officer who was prosecuted for groping women is spending his first night in jail Friday night.

On the orders of the judge, Christopher Hays turned himself in to start serving a one year sentence behind bars.

It has been a week, since the 30 year-old former police officer cried in court as he heard the judge tell him he would be going to jail.

On Friday, Christopher Hays showed up at the same courthouse to start his stint behind bars.

From police officer to jail inmate, Hays surrendered at the downtown San Diego Courthouse to begin serving his time.

365 days in the county jail.

His attorney Kerry Armstrong says he concerned about the safety of the former police officer.

He’s a tough guy, but no one is strong and tough as 15 guys who come after you said Armstrong.

Hays cried at his sentencing last week. The judge rejected the defense request for community volunteer work, or home detention.

The judge issued a harsher penalty, three years of probation and a year in jail.

Four women told prosecutors that Hays groped their private parts and made them perform demeaning acts, while they were questioned and searched by him.

After intensive negotiations, a deal was reached with the D.A.’s Office.

As a result, Hays and his attorney agreed to enter a guilty plea, to charges of felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor assault.

The more serious charge of sexual battery was dropped.

By pleading guilty, Hays avoided a jury trial, and his attorney says a probation report to the judge may have been a factor in opting to send Hays to jail.

Hay’s wife, Erika, was at the courthouse, weeping in the hallway, as she watched her husband being handcuffed and led into custody.

On the street, outside the courthouse, a photographer asked her if she still stands by her husband.

“How hard is it to stand by your husband? Not hard when he’s innocent,” she said.

Hay’s attorney believes he will be out of jail in six months if he does not break the rules and demonstrates good behavior.

He may be kept in solidarity away from other inmates. He’ll be entitled to visits at the Vista Jail twice a week, and once he is released, he plans to sell his house and move his family to Arkansas.

Once there Hays hopes to find work as a welder.

The criminal matter is over, but a civil lawsuit is pending.

Several women claim they were groped by the former officer, and have filed a federal lawsuit against Hays and the city.

The city is preparing to spend up to $250,000 for outside attorneys to defend the city and Christopher Hays.

Categories: KUSI