PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A former Oregon elementary principal has been convicted of sexually abusing four students between 2005 and 2009.
A judge in a crowded Clackamas County courtroom on Monday found 68-year-old Jeffrey W. Hays guilty on six counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Circuit Judge Katherine Weber revoked his bail and ordered him held until sentencing June 28. Closing arguments in the five-week trial concluded Friday.
More than 50 witnesses and 70 pieces of evidence were examined during the trial, including testimony from Hays and the students who said they were sexually abused at Deep Creek Elementary School in Damascus when they were in third or fourth grade.
Two of the students said the abuse happened during lunches with the principal in his office. The other two said Hays groped them while he conducted a math test in his office.
Defense attorney Jason Thompson said Hays would appeal the verdict.
“I’m shocked that (the judge) thought that the evidence presented, which we all agreed was contaminated, was sufficient to support any verdict beyond a reasonable doubt,” Thompson said.
Weber, a former public defender who was appointed to the bench in 2010, presided over the non-jury trial.
Hays was working as the principal of City View charter school in Hillsboro and resigned in 2017 after the Deep Creek allegations came to light.