A former San Diego police officer who groped and illegally detained four women while on duty pleaded guilty Friday to felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor counts of assault and battery under the color of authority by a peace officer.

Christopher Hays, 30, a married father of two, faces up to a year in jail and will be placed on probation at a hearing Sept. 26.

Former San Diego Police Officer Christopher Hays is accused of sexual misconduct. Photo credit: SDPD.

Defense attorney Kerry Armstrong said Hays pleaded guilty under a section of the law that allows a defendant to plead guilty not because he committed the crimes but because it was in his best interest.

Before the plea bargain, Hays was looking at nearly four years in prison if convicted.

“This was the best deal for him,” Armstrong said outside court. The attorney noted Hays is looking forward to moving back to his home state of Arkansas.

Three women testified in April that they were groped and forced to perform inappropriate acts after being contacted and searched by Hays, a who had been with the SDPD four years, but resigned the day after he was charged in February.

A fourth woman also said Hays groped her after her arrest for shoplifting, according to SDPD Detective Cory Gilmore. The reported acts took place from October to December 2013.

Hays remains free on $130,000 bail pending sentencing.

At least one women in the case has filed a claim against the city, seeking damages in connection with Hays’ behavior. She told authorities that Hays and other officers went to her home last year and arrested her boyfriend. Later, Hays allegedly committed a sex act in front of her, according to the claim.

– City News Service

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