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Ex-SDPD Officer Who Groped, Detained Women Pleads Guilty

Above: Former San Diego Police officer Chris Hays is seen outside the courthouse before his arraignment on sexual abuse charges in San Diego on Feb. 19, 2014.

A former San Diego police officer who groped and illegally detained four women while on duty pleaded guilty Friday to felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor counts of assault and battery under the color of authority by a peace officer.

Christopher Hays, 30, faces up to a year in jail and will be placed on probation at a hearing Sept. 26.

Defense attorney Kerry Armstrong said Hays pleaded guilty under a section of the law that allows a defendant to plead guilty not because he committed the crimes but because it was in his best interest.

Before the plea bargain, Hays was looking at nearly four years in prison if convicted.

"This was the best deal for him," Armstrong said outside court. The attorney noted Hays is looking forward to moving back to his home state of Arkansas.

Three women testified in April that they were groped and forced to perform inappropriate acts after being contacted and searched by Hays, a four-year SDPD veteran who resigned the day after he was charged in February.

A fourth woman also said Hays groped her after her arrest for shoplifting, according to SDPD Detective Cory Gilmore.

Hays remains free on $130,000 bail pending sentencing.

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