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Jeffrey Hays faces seven felony counts and possibly decades in prison for alleged molestation

COURTESY PHOTO: CLACKAMAS COUNTY  - Jeffrey Hays

Jeffrey Hays, a former principal of Deep Creek Elementary School in Damascus, faces seven felony counts of child sex abuse involving four former students.

Although details of the criminal case are not yet available, in civil cases Hays was accused of abusing children as young as second grade.

Hays was arrested on suspicion of one count of unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree and six counts of sex abuse in the first degree. The maximum sentence for the first count alone is 25 years, according to Scott Healy, senior deputy district attorney in Clackamas County.

"Mr. Hays looks forward to clearing his name and actually being able to defend himself in a courtroom afforded the protections that we all enjoy when charged with false, and fantasized allegations," Hays' attorney Jason Thompson said via email.

"Mr. Hays will appear and enter a not guilty plea to each and every allegation, in every count of the secret indictment," Thompson said.

Hays was arrested at his home in North Portland on Thursday, March 11, after a Clackamas County grand jury returned an indictment Monday, March 8.

Bail for Hays was set at $500,000. He posted bail and was released from custody, Healy said.

Hays was principal of Deep Creek Elementary School from 2005-09.

The civil cases said the alleged abuse happened during those years in Hays' office at the school.

Last year, two of Hays alleged victims were awarded nearly $3.5 million in two civil lawsuits that accused Hays of sexually abusing them.

At the time, one family was open about being angry that Hays had not yet faced any criminal charges and the devastation the abuse caused their daughter.

"Our thought was that he (Hays) would get arrested right away," said Kathy Smith, the mother of one of the girls in the civil case.

In the civil court documents, a boy described one incident in the principal's office with Hays.

"And, he's rubbing and keeps rubbing down my leg until — he goes under my shorts," court documents said.

Another victim, now a young woman, said in the civil court documents that Hays sexually abused her when she was in second, third and fourth grade at Deep Creek.

Civil court documents said Hays would bring students into his office for "lunch with the principal" or to be quizzed on math facts and he would close the door and blinds.

"Mr. Hays is aware that earlier this week four individuals, all of whom have been involved in civil litigation with Mr. Hays' former school district, appeared in front of the Clackamas County Grand Jury and perpetuated similar false accusations against him that have resulted in their previous attempts to financially benefit themselves and their families at the expense of the school district," Thompson said.

Deep Creek, now called Deep Creek Damascus K-8 School, is in the Gresham-Barlow School District. The district was also named in the civil suits.

The district said earlier that it was fully cooperating with law enforcement.

Hays left Deep Creek in 2009 and was the executive director of the City View Charter School in Hillsboro for a time. He is now retired.

Hays will be arraigned on April 8 and the case will be handled in the Clackamas County Circuit Court.

Authorities are asking anyone with information regarding Hays to contact the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form at clackamas.us/sheriff/tip . Reference CCSO Case # 16-026450.


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