SDPD Officer Accused of Sexual Misconduct Denies Claims - NBC 7 San Diego

SDPD Officer Accused of Sexual Misconduct Denies Claims



    There are troubling developments in the case of a San Diego Police Officer accused of sexual misconduct. An attorney for one of the alleged victims is now sharing specific details of their encounter. The allegations are sexual in nature and not appropriate for younger viewers. NBC 7's Artie Ojeda has more. (Published Monday, Feb. 10, 2014)

    The San Diego Police officer arrested Sunday for sexual battery and false imprisonment charges denied all the allegations against him, according to his attorney. 

    Officer Christopher Hays is accused of giving improper pat downs to five women and coercing a sixth to give him oral sex. 

    His attorney Richard L. Pinckard released a statement Monday, saying accusations are not evidence. 

    "He is a decorated officer, having demonstrated selfless courage by entering a burning house and rescuing people from inside. The character traits for that level of valor are wholly inconsistent with the nature of these allegations," said Pinckard's statement. 

    The response came in light of another attorney's announcement Monday, which gave more details about Hays' alleged encounter with his sixth accuser.

    Attorney Dan Gilleon’s client alleges that Officer Christopher Hays forced her to give him oral sex in exchange for letting her walk free from an incident in Oct. 2012.

    “He convinced her that he could, if he wanted to, arrest her,” said Gilleon. “But there was a way out of it for her and that would be to give him oral sex.

    Gilleon would not say what Hays suspected the woman of doing, but he did say that Hays came across her when she was by a car that had broken down.

    Hays gave the woman a ride home, and as he parked in front of her house, she complied with his request inside his patrol car, Gilleon’s client told him.

    Gilleon said the woman did not report it because she did not believe the police would believe her.

    However, after seeing media reports last week that other alleged victims had come forward, she decided to do the same. Gilleon said she called the police but never received a call back, so she looked for an attorney.

    On Sunday, SDPD Chief William Lansdowne announced five alleged victims had contacted the police to accuse Hays of improper pat downs and the sixth woman had gone to Gilleon. Lansdowne said there was no skin-to-skin contact in the first five cases.

    "In the course of the detention, officers search people, and in this case we believe the searches were done improperly, but it didn't go underneath inside the clothing -- it didn't go there," said Lansdowne on Thursday.

    However, he confirmed Sunday there was alleged “sexual contact” in the sixth case.

    The accusations brought by Gilleon’s client have now been handed over to the District Attorney’s Office, which will attempt to corroborate her story.

    According to Gilleon, the DA will use circumstantial evidence like GPS and radio calls to try to place Hays with the alleged victim, as they did in the case of another former officer caught up in a sex scandal: Anthony Arevalos.

    The DA has not filed any charges in Hays' case so far.

    Gilleon called his client a credible young woman who is not excited about the fact that she has to share a “degrading and humiliating” story.

    “This is not what she thinks of as enjoyment, this is actually very embarrassing for her,” said Gilleon.

    Hays was booked into the San Diego Central Jail on two felony counts of false imprisonment with violence and three misdemeanor counts of sexual battery, all stemming from the first four women’s accounts.

    The alleged incidents took place between Nov. 12, 2012 and Dec. 23, 2013, and the women range in age from 20 to 30 years old.

    Hays posted his $130,000 bail Sunday, and his arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 18.

    Pinckard's full statement on Hays' behalf is included below: 

    "Making a detailed statement without the benefit of the facts is neither prudent nor conducive to the fair and effective administration of justice. I am confident that most intelligent people reasonably understand that accusations are not evidence, regardless of how salacious the accusations might be.

    "In the days and weeks to come, we will be carefully reviewing the information gathered during the police investigation with a specific focus on the credibility and motivations of the people providing the information.

    "What I know at this point is that Officer Hays denies the allegations. He is a decorated officer, having demonstrated selfless courage by entering a burning house and rescuing people from inside. The character traits for that level of valor are wholly inconsistent with the nature of these allegations."