Attorney representing accused San Diego officer said money may be factor in allegations

SAN DIEGO - An attorney representing the San Diego police officer accused of sexually assaulting women said Wednesday that money could be a factor in the accusations.

Kerry Armstrong, who is representing Christopher Hays, said "money is a reason to lie" about the claims of sexual assault. Hays, who was charged Tuesday with five criminal counts, including felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor sexual battery, is facing accusations involving four women.

"There are a lot of reasons to lie—money is one of the first things that crosses my mind," Armstrong said in a Wednesday morning interview with 10News. "People know there's money to be made by making accusations of sexual misconduct."

Armstrong also said the victims may have made a "mistake."

"A lot of people who get frisked don't think it's a proper procedure when it really is," he said.

Hays, 30, is a four-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department and is expected to resign Wednesday by proxy.

Armstrong said the resignation comes after the department failed to support him.

"He's really upset the police department hasn't backed him the way he thought they would," he said. "He just hoped the chief would remain neutral."

Armstrong said he expects more charges could be coming and is currently working on putting together a defense team. He said some victims have criminal backgrounds and he plans to address that during trial.

Three other women have come forward to allege they were victimized by Hays. The case is still under review and more charges are possible, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said.

Hays pleaded not guilty to the charges before Judge David Szumowski, who allowed the defendant to remain free on $130,000 bail and ordered him to have no contact with the four alleged victims named in the complaint.

An April 22 preliminary hearing is set for Hays, who faces up to three years and eight months in prison if convicted.

Anyone who thinks they may have victimized is asked to contact the San Diego Police Department at 619-531-1550 or the District Attorney's Office at 619-531-3965.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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