S.D. to pay victims of ex-officer $1.3 million
City settles with two women assaulted by Christopher Hays while he was on duty with the Police Dept.
The San Diego City Council has agreed to pay a total of $1.3 million to two women who were sexually assaulted by an on-duty police officer.
The settlement, voted on during a closed session last month, was not disclosed publicly until this week.
Christopher Hays, who was convicted and sentenced to a year in jail, was released March 2 after serving five months. An officer for four years, Hays, 30, resigned after his arrest in February 2014. He pleaded guilty to one count of felony false imprisonment and two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery under color of authority.
Attorney Dan Gilleon, who represented both women, said that “the city agreed to settle the cases by focusing on the harm to the victims as opposed to trying to defend” Hays’ conduct, which Gilleon called “defenseless.”
The charges against Hays involved touching women inappropriately for sexual gratification during pat-downs, according to court documents.
The maximum sentence was five years, but Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers, in sentencing Hays, said he took into consideration the former officer’s history as a military veteran and his otherwise good record as a police officer.
Hays received a medal in 2012 for running into a burning building to save a woman who was trapped on the second floor. He also served with the Marines in Iraq as a lance corporal.
On the day of the sentencing, the judge said Hays would be allowed to move back to his native Arkansas when his jail term was completed.
A lawsuit filed by Gilleon on behalf of a third woman abused by Hays is pending. The city has already agreed to pay $8.2 million to settle claims from women assaulted by officer Anthony Arevalos, 44, who was fired from the Police Department.
Convicted of multiple accounts of abusing women while on duty as a traffic officer, Arevalos, an 18-year veteran of the department, was sentenced in 2012 to eight years in prison.
FORMER SAN DIEGO police Officer Christopher Hays served five months in prison for sexually assaulting two women while he was on duty. The City Council has agreed to pay the victims a total of $1.3 million.