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San Diego To Pay $1M To Settle Sex Assault Claims Against Ex-Cop

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.

The city of San Diego is poised to pay nearly $1 million to settle claims by two women abused by a former police officer, who later pleaded guilty to criminal charges and spent five months behind bars, according to documents made available Wednesday.

One woman is set to receive $550,000. She alleged that she suffered personal injuries in an encounter with ex-SDPD Officer Christopher Hays on Oct. 31, 2013.

The other woman settled for $400,000. She claimed emotional injuries from her interactions with Hays on June 12 that year.

The settlements were given a go-ahead by the City Council in closed session last month, and are scheduled for final approval next week.

Hays pleaded guilty last August to false imprisonment and misdemeanor counts of assault and battery under the color of authority by a peace officer, and was sentenced to one year in jail — but was released early.

Three women testified earlier last year that they were groped while being searched by the four-year SDPD veteran, who resigned the day after he was charged. One woman told the judge that she has trouble sleeping in her own bed after Hays followed her to her apartment and had her expose her breasts and told her to touch his groin.

A fourth woman also said Hays groped her after her arrest for shoplifting.

Deputy District Attorney Annette Irving said Hays was banking on the notion that his victims would never tell what he did to them.

At his sentencing, Hays apologized to the victims and his family for any pain he caused, saying, "It's not something I'm very proud of."

In April, the City Council approved settlements with two other women who sued regarding Hays. One was for $1.25 million and the other for $60,000.

The actions by Hays and a couple of other officers led to a federal investigation of the San Diego Police Department. Of 40 recommendations made to strengthen policies designed to prevent officer misconduct, 19 have been implemented and the rest are in the process of being implemented, according to an SDPD report.

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