Officer accused of sexual assault turns himself in

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A four-year member of the San Diego Police Department
is free on $130,000 bail following his weekend arrest on suspicion of
groping women in their 20s and 30s during pat-down searches, authorities said.

Officer Christopher Hays turned himself in about 1:30 p.m. Sunday at a
sheriff's substation on Rancho Bernardo Road, per an agreement between the
county District Attorney's Office, the San Diego Police Department and his
attorney, police officials said.

The 30-year-old former Marine and married father of two — whose father-
in-law is Assistant San Diego police Chief Mark Jones — posted bail shortly
after being booked into jail on suspicion two counts of felony false
imprisonment and three misdemeanor sexual battery counts, according to jail

If convicted, he will face 7 1/2 years behind bars, San Diego police Lt.
Kevin Mayer said.

If the allegations are proven to be true, “this would be a termination
case,” San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said.

Hays had been under investigation on suspicion of improperly touching
women while detaining them for various reasons, ranging from a domestic
violence call to a suspected shoplifting incident, according to SDPD officials.

He has been on paid leave since the first allegation arose in late
December. In mid-January, the case was forwarded to the San Diego County
District Attorney's Office, which was tasked with reviewing it and filing
charges. He has since been placed on unpaid leave.

Four alleged victims told investigators that Hays, assigned to the Mid-
City Division, improperly touched them through their clothing, with no “skin-
to-skin contact,” Lansdowne said last week.

Two other cases remained under investigation — one which involved
sexual contact, Lansdowne said.

“He could be looking at more charges with the fifth and sixth victim,”
Lansdowne said.

Lansdowne noted that the investigation into the allegations was thorough
from when the first accuser stepped forward in late December. Investigators
also reviewed Hays' cases over the past four years.

However, many of the cases showed contact but no name, Lansdowne said.

It was the second time in three years that a member of the San Diego
Police Department has been accused of sexual misconduct with female detainees.

In 2011, then-Officer Anthony Arevalos was accused of sexually
assaulting five women during traffic stops for suspected drunken driving in the
Gaslamp Quarter. He was later convicted and sentenced to almost nine years in
prison and is currently seeking a new trial. So far, the city has agreed to pay
out $2.3 million to settle lawsuits filed by Arevalos' victims.

Categories: KUSI