Ex-Damascus principal seeks bail cut in sex abuse case


Jeffrey Hays faces seven felony counts of child sex abuse involving four former students

Jeffrey Hays (PMG FILE IMAGE)

The Portland Tribune and Pamplin Media Group’s papers are a KOIN 6 News media partner

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — A trial date of April 19, 2022 has been set for Jeffrey Hays, a former principal of Deep Creek Elementary School in Damascus, who faces seven felony counts of child sex abuse involving four former students.

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

Hays is charged with one count of unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree and six counts of sex abuse in the first degree. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, May 19.

Hays is alleged to have sexually abused some of his elementary school students between 2005-2009, the years he was principal of Deep Creek.

The case in Clackamas County Circuit Court is expected to take about five weeks, according to court documents.

Already there are more than 5,000 pages of discovery and 16 audio records and photos in the court case. As many as 50 witnesses are expected to be called, court documents said.

The maximum sentence for the first criminal count alone is 25 years, according to Scott Healy, senior deputy district attorney in Clackamas County.

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

Hays’ attorney Jason Thompson said Hays will be seeking a reduction in his bail amount.

“That ties up a lot of resources for his defense,” he said.

Thompson said Hays “is staying strong” and is “going to defend himself.”

Hays and the school district also were sued in civil court. Last year, two of Hays alleged victims were awarded nearly $3.5 million in two civil lawsuits that accused Hays of sexually abusing them.

The civil cases said the alleged abuse happened in Hays’ office at the school.

One victim, now a young woman, said in the civil court documents that Hays sexually abused her when she was in second, third and fourth grades 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.

Deep Creek, now called Deep Creek Damascus K-8 School, is in the Gresham-Barlow School District. 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.

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