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2 women alleging sexual abuse by San Diego police officer to get $950,000

2 women alleging sexual abuse by San Diego police officer to get $950,000
Former San Diego police officer Christopher Hays served five months in jail. The San Diego City Council is set to approve additional payments to women he is alleged to have abused. (Fox-5 San Diego)

The San Diego City Council voted Tuesday to approve payments totaling $950,000 to two women who said they were sexually abused by a former San Diego police officer while he was still on-duty.

The payments are in addition to the total of $1.3 million approved in April for two other women who alleged they were mistreated by the same ex-officer, Christopher Hays.

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The payments approved Tuesday -- $550,000 to one woman, $400,000 to the other -- had already been approved by the council in a closed session. Tuesday's vote was 7-1 with Councilman David Alvarez opposed.

City Atty. Jan Goldsmith called Hays' conduct "criminal and an affront to the victims, to the other police officers who do their jobs well and to all San Diegans."

Hays, 30, an officer for four years, resigned after his arrest in February 2014. He pleaded guilty to one count of felony false imprisonment and two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery under color of authority.

Hays was sentenced to serve a year in custody. He served five months and was released March 2.

The charges involved touching women inappropriately and for sexual gratification during pat-downs, according to court documents.

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 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.

The city has already agreed to pay $8.2 million to settle claims from women assaulted by officer Anthony Arevalos, 44, who was fired from the police department.

Convicted of multiple accounts of abusing women while on duty as a traffic officer, Arevalos, an 18-year veteran of the department, was sentenced in 2012 to eight years in prison.

In the wake of the Arevalos case and other instances of officer misconduct, the City Council asked for a review of the police department's management practices by the U.S. Department of Justice.

"I welcome Chief (Shelley) Zimmerman's commitment to implement all the reforms" suggested by the review, Goldsmith said, "to ensure that we don't get another Hays or Arevalos in SDPD."

For more San Diego news, follow @LATsandiego.

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