A former San Diego Police Department officer sentenced to jail for misconduct on the job – including assault, battery and illegally detaining several women – will begin serving his time behind bars Friday.
Christopher Hays, 30, turned himself in at the downtown San Diego courthouse, his attorney, Kerry Armstrong, confirmed.
During the surrender, Hays’ wife, Erika Hays, was crying and very upset, Armstrong said.
Hays was sentenced on Sept. 26 to one year in county jail, plus three years of probation. When the judge handed down his fate, Hays teared up and addressed the court and his family.
“I would like to say that I am sorry for anything I have done that has caused anyone pain,” he said, crying. “I have always tried to help people and do good, so now that I have hurt someone, it’s not something that I am very proud of.”
Hays pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment as well as misdemeanor counts of assault and battery under the color of authority by a peace officer on Aug. 22.
Armstrong said that, with good behavior, Hays could possibly get out of jail in six months and begin a new life with his family. The attorney said his client plans to eventually move out of San Diego and back to his home state of Arkansas with his wife and kids, where he may pursue a new career as a welder.
On Friday Armstrong said he believes Hays will be locked up in solitary confinement at San Diego Central Jail, where he will get two one-hour visitation sessions per week.
Earlier this year, at least four women came forward accusing Hays of allegedly inappropriately touching and groping them during pat-downs while he was on duty.
At his preliminary hearing in April, three alleged victims identified only as Jane Doe One, Two and Three described their interactions with the officer in uniform.
Jane Doe Two said Hays allegedly gave her a pat down that included lingering over every part of her body. Jane Doe Three accused Hays of dropping his hand towards his groin and asking her to touch his body.
Hays, a four-year veteran of the SDPD, was charged with the misconduct crimes in February. Hours after his arraignment, he resigned from the SDPD, saying he was not guilty. He said he felt betrayed by the department.
Hays denied the groping charges, later pleading guilty to the other counts of misconduct on the job, including battery and assault. Because he did not plead guilty to the sexual allegations, he will not have to register as a sex offender.
In May, NBC 7 spoke with Hays’ wife, Erika Hays, who defended his innocence and said she would continue to stand by her husband.
At his sentencing last week, Hays spoke about how much he's hurt his family amid this ordeal, and how much he loves his wife and children.
“I am so sorry for what my family has had to endure. I know I have caused them a great deal of pain and suffering, which is something I never wanted to [do],” he said, crying.
Hays’ case has put the SDPD under fire this year, further marring the department’s image, which has faced a wave of public scrutiny for quite some time.
When news broke of the alleged sexual misconduct crimes, then-Chief William Lansdowne ordered an outside audit of the police department from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Lansdowne’s successor, Chief Shelley Zimmerman, supported the audit.
“We are not going to tolerate this misconduct and betrayal of our badge and our profession,” Zimmerman said in March.
In addition to Hays, former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos is currently serving prison time for multiple felony counts of sexual battery, assault and asking for bribes while in uniform as a police officer patrolling the Gaslamp from 2009 to 2011.
On Sept. 25, attorneys and city officials announced that a San Diego woman who was victimized by Arevalos will receive $5.9 million in a legal settlement negotiated between the victim and the City of San Diego.
The woman, known only as “Jane Doe,” filed a claim of police misconduct after an interaction with then-officer Arevalos inside a 7-Eleven store bathroom on March 8, 2011.
According to prosecutors, the corrupt cop conducted a routine traffic stop on Jane Doe and then suggested the two of them go into the nearby convenience store. The two entered the restroom with the agreement that she would give him her panties, and in exchange he would not charge her for a DUI.
Jane Doe's lawsuit was one of 13 filed by victims of Arevalos, who was convicted in November 2011.