Ex-San Diego officer pleads guilty to abusing women while on duty

Former San Diego officer pleads guilty after four women accuse him of abuse

A former San Diego police officer pleaded guilty Friday to groping and abusing women while on duty.

Christopher Hays, 30, an officer for four years when he resigned after his arrest in February, pleaded guilty to one count of felony false imprisonment and two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery under color of authority.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 26. Hays remains free on bail.

The maximum sentence is five years. But San Diego County Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers said that he would not sentence Hays to more than a year in jail and may instead give him probation.

Four women had accused Hays of touching them inappropriately.

At a preliminary hearing, a police investigator testified that Hays broke into tears when told of the allegations against him and asked if the case would "go away" if he resigned.

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.

One of the abuse incidents occurred during a domestic violence call. Others involved a shoplifting suspect, a homeless woman and a woman interviewed during a street patrol.

Hays is married and the father of two. His father-in-law, Mark Jones, is an assistant chief with the San Diego Police Department.

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