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Ex-San Diego Cop Convicted In Sex Case Freed Early From Jail

Photo credit: 10News

Ex-San Diego police Officer Christopher Hays wipes his eyes during his sentencing in San Diego County Superior Court, Sept. 26, 2014.

A former San Diego police officer who pleaded guilty to groping and illegally detaining four women while on duty has been released from jail after serving five months of a one-year jail term.

Christopher Hays, 30, was released from the San Diego Central Jail shortly before 7 a.m. Monday, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department confirmed.

Hays was sentenced in September to one year in jail and three years’ probation. He began serving his term on Oct. 3.

A sheriff’s official told 10News, "He served his full sentence under … penal code guidelines."

Under a plea agreement, Hays pleaded guilty Aug. 22 to false imprisonment and misdemeanor counts of assault and battery under the color of authority by a peace officer. Before the plea, Hays faced almost four years in prison if convicted.

The terms of his probation require that he not possess a firearm and have no contact with any of his victims.

Three women testified in April that they were groped and forced to perform inappropriate acts after being contacted and searched by Hays between October and December 2013. Hays had been with the department for four years and resigned the day after he was charged in February 2014.

Hays, a former Marine who served in Iraq, is a married father of two whose father-in-law is Assistant San Diego Police Chief Mark Jones.

The San Diego Police Department has faced a string of misconduct cases that began with ex-Officer Anthony Arevalos. The 18-year veteran was convicted in November 2011 of felony and misdemeanor charges involving five women he pulled over in the Gaslamp Quarter. A jury found him guilty of multiple counts of sexual battery by restraint, asking for a bribe, and assault and battery by a police officer.

Arevalos is in state prison serving a sentence of eight years and eight months. He tried to get his sentence reduced after a judge reversed two of his convictions, but a state appeals court ruled against Arevalos.

The day before Hays was sentenced, the San Diego City Attorney's Office announced that the city would pay $5.9 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by one of Arevalos' victims. About a dozen settlements have been reached between the city and Arevalos' victims.

So far, Hays faces one federal lawsuit involving three plaintiffs. The city defends employees against litigation for their actions while the workers were on duty.

Hays’ attorney, Kerry Armstrong, said in October that the ex-officer and his wife planned to sell their house and move back to Arkansas, where he grew up, upon his release from jail.

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