A former San Diego officer who was accused of illegally detaining and groping four women began his jail sentence of one year recently, according to reports. Christopher Hays, 30, was sentenced after pleading guilty to false imprisonment and assault and battery. He was also given three years of probation as part of his punishment.
Hays will probably spend his time in solitary confinement as he may be in danger of attack by other inmates due to his status as a former police officer. With good behavior he could be out in six months.
Hays was charged with groping and performing inappropriate acts with three women after they were placed under arrest. A fourth woman also accused the former officer of groping her, but Hays was not charged with that count. The women have remained unidentified.
While sexual harassment is often a civil matter and victims may be entitled to sue for damages, including mental distress, those who are accused of these acts may also be charged under current criminal laws. This is often the case when the alleged perpetrator is in a position of authority or someone whose commands must be obeyed, such as a police officer. When an officer takes advantage of his position in order to compel someone to perform lewd or lascivious acts, that officer has broken the law. In addition, he or she may have placed the entire police department in a very difficult legal position.
It is not clear whether these women will file a civil suit against the San Diego Police Department, against Hays or against some other defendant.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, the first and most important step is to report the problem to the proper authorities. If you do not feel safe in doing so, an attorney may be able to help you find the right place to report this crime.
Sexual harassment often occurs in a work context. If you are being bullied, harassed or threatened by someone at work or by a person in a position of power, it is very important that you seek immediate help. Contact Dan Gilleon in San Diego for assistance. Dan Gilleon has years of experience in dealing with workplace issues including harassment and will help you deal with this frightening problem.