San Diego police officer Chris Hays accused of sexually assaulting women while on duty

SAN DIEGO - Team 10 confirmed another San Diego police officer is accused of sexually assaulting women while on duty.

Sources said SDPD Officer Chris Hays is on paid administrative leave. Team 10 learned Hays is accused of sexually assaulting four women while on duty.

Sources also told Team 10 there were red flags about Hays before he was hired by the police department. The sources would not elaborate, however.

Hays, 30, is married and has two young boys. His father-in-law, Mark Jones, is an assistant chief, Team 10 learned.

Team 10 caught up with SDPD Chief William Lansdowne at a public event Thursday. When asked if this case was another one like Anthony Arevalos, the chief said no.

Lansdowne did confirm Hays is off the job for now.

At the event, Lansdowne said of Hays, "Yes, suspended, taken away his police powers and he's not at work."

Later in the day, once Team 10 broke this story, the chief was forced to elaborate on the investigation, which he said involved pat downs.

"This is not skin-to-skin touching," Landsdowne said. "The process is to use the edge of the hand with women, but, if you cup or touch private areas that could be a criminal act in and of itself."

Hays has not been criminally charged, but the San Diego County District Attorney's Office said it was considering charges.

Team 10 found the Burn Institute honored Hays and another police officer last year for climbing ladders to a smoke-filled apartment to save two women who were trapped. It was not immediately clear where the apartment building was or when the fire happened.

An article about Hays and his family mentioned the rescue. It's titled "This Marine-Turned-Police Officer Is a Local Hero," and it was published October 2012 in 92127 Magazine -- an ultra-local publication for the 92127 ZIP code.

The article also said Hays was a Marine Corporal who served in Iraq and South Korea.

Public records show Hays moved from Arkansas to San Diego sometime in late 2008 or early 2009. Team 10 also found Hays had hunting and fishing licenses in Arkansas, with the last one issued in 2003.

The allegations against Hays are the latest blow to a police department that many people say needs an overhaul.

Former officer Anthony Arevalos is in jail for exchanging tickets for sexual favors. The last woman to file a suit against the city recently gave her first interview to Team 10, as her lawyers haggle over the settlement amount.

A new trial motion is scheduled for Arevalos on Friday.

Meanwhile, some San Diegans have claimed they were pulled over by police because of the color of their skin. Some of them held up protest signs at a recent public meeting where the police chief suggested officers wear small cameras on their uniforms.

Lansdowne was appointed by Mayor Dick Murphy in August 2003.

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