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Ex-San Diego officer released after serving 5 months in sex assault case

Former San Diego police officer released from jail after 5 months; he had been convicted in sex assault case

A former San Diego police officer was released from jail Monday after serving five months of a one-year sentence for sexually assaulting women while on duty.

Christopher Hays, 30, left the downtown jail at 6:51 a.m., according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. No explanation for his release was offered.

Hays, an officer for four years, resigned after his arrest last year. In September, he pleaded guilty to one count of felony false imprisonment and two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery under color of authority.

The charges involved touching women inappropriately and for sexual gratification during pat-downs.

The maximum sentence was five years, but Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers, in sentencing Hays in September, said he took into consideration Hays' history as a military veteran and his otherwise good record as a police officer.

Hays received a medal in 2012 for dashing into a burning building to save a woman who was trapped on the second floor. He also served with the Marines in Iraq as a lance corporal.

On the day of the sentencing, the judge said Hays would be allowed to move back to his native Arkansas when his jail term was completed. Hays hopes to become a welder, the judge was told.

Hays entered jail on Oct. 3. He was also sentenced to three years' probation but will not have to register as a sex offender, under the judge's sentencing.

Four women had accused Hays of touching them inappropriately. One of the incidents occurred during a domestic violence call. Others involved a shoplifting suspect, a transient and a woman interviewed during a street patrol.

A civil lawsuit is pending against Hays and the city of San Diego.

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