Ex-SDPD cop who groped women released from jail early
SAN DIEGO – Former San Diego police officer Christopher Hays who pleaded guilty to illegally detaining and groping women was released from jail seven months early, authorities confirmed Monday.
Hays, 31, was released Monday morning from the San Diego Central Jail, San Diego Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said. She would not disclose why he was released after serving five months of his year-old sentence.
As Hays began his custody term, his attorney, Kerry Armstrong, told reporters his client could be out in six months if he accumulated enough good-behavior credits.
Hays pleaded guilty last August to false imprisonment and misdemeanor counts of assault and battery under the color of authority by a peace officer. He turned himself in at the downtown courthouse Oct. 3 to begin serving his one-year sentence, which included three years of probation.
San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman released a statement Monday:
“We were informed today that the Sheriff’s Department released Christopher Hays from their custody early this morning. The San Diego Police Department has no input or authority over sentencing guidelines in any criminal case. We are focused on moving forward as a department in a collaborative partnership with all of our communities who we proudly serve.”
Last spring, three women testified that they were groped and forced to perform sexual acts after being contacted and searched by the four-year police department veteran, who resigned the day after he was charged in February 2014.
A fourth woman also said Hays groped her after her arrest for shoplifting, according to SDPD Detective Cory Gilmore.
Another woman, identified in court as “Jane Doe 4,” told the judge she had trouble sleeping in her own bed after Hays followed her to her apartment and had her expose her breasts and told her to touch his crotch.
Deputy District Attorney Annette Irving said Hays was banking on his belief that his victims would never tell what he did to them.
At his sentencing, Hays apologized to the victims and his family for any pain he caused.
“It’s not something I’m very proud of,” he said.
Armstrong said Hays, his wife and their two sons planned to sell their house and move back to Arkansas, where he grew up.