Two victims of an ex-San Diego Police Department officer convicted of misconduct on the job – including assault, battery and illegally detaining several women – will be paid more than $1.3 million dollars.
NBC 7 has learned the City of San Diego will issue the payout to the victims of ex-cop Christopher Hays after the San Diego City Council approved the City Attorney’s recommendations on the matter.
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, 2014.
In 2014, 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 last 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 did not have to register as a sex offender.
At his September sentencing, Hays cried as he spoke before the court and his family, apologizing for his actions.
“I would like to say that I am sorry for anything I have done that has caused anyone pain,” he said, tearing up. “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’ case put the SDPD under fire, 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 2014.
In addition to Hays, SDPD Officer Donald Moncrief was accused in 2014 of touching a woman inappropriately during an arrest in the South Bay and allegedly exposing himself to the woman.
Moncrief was never formally charged and left his job with the SDPD. In late April, he filed a claim against the city and the SDPD seeking damages for defamation, among other things.
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, 2014 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.
The payments to Hays’ victims were approved in closed session meetings last month.
In addition, $250,000 is being paid to another victim in a civil lawsuit involving a different San Diego police officer, NBC 7 has learned.