Policeman accused of groping female suspects

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Prosecutors are weighing possible criminal charges
against a San Diego police officer accused of groping female suspects during
searches, authorities confirmed this week.

Patrolman Chris Hays, a four-year member of the San Diego Police
Department, is under investigation on suspicion of improperly touching four
women while detaining them for various reasons on separate occasions last year,
according to SDPD officials.

The first allegation arose in late December, and Hays has been on paid
leave since, Police Chief William Lansdowne told City News Service.

Detectives forwarded the case to the District Attorney's Office in mid-
January. The agency is reviewing it and will decide whether to file charges.

The alleged victims told investigators that Hays, who is assigned to the
SDPD Mid-City Division, improperly touched their privates through their
clothing, with no “skin-to-skin contact,” according to Lansdowne.

“It's a difficult case, because (officers are) allowed to search
people,” the chief said. “It's a matter of how that's critical.”

Law enforcement agencies strive to prevent inappropriate touching
through strict guidelines on suspect pat-downs, Lansdowne noted.

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

In 2011, then-Officer Anthony Arevalos was arrested on suspicion of
forcibly fondling a woman he'd pulled over in the Gaslamp District.

More victims came forward, and Arevalos ultimately was convicted of
sexually assaulting five women during traffic stops. The ex-cop was sentenced
to almost nine years in prison.

Categories: KUSI