WHEELING - A woman claims in a lawsuit that Barbour County, W.Va. Sheriff John Hawkins sexually assaulted her during a job interview when she was 17 and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.
Wheeling attorney Shawn Fluharty filed the lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Elkins. In addition to sexual assault, the 15-count complaint lists unlawful arrest, excessive force, civil conspiracy, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
The woman filed a domestic violence petition against Hawkins last year but later dropped it. She claims Hawkins retaliated by heading an investigation that led to stolen property charges against her that later were dismissed.
"This lawsuit is disturbing on many levels and would not have come to light if it were not for the strength and bravery of (the alleged victim). While this is not easy ... she does not face this alone. We look forward to holding everyone accountable for their actions and showing that no one is above the law," Fluharty said.
Hawkins was out of his office Monday and doesn't have a listed home phone number. In a Facebook message, he said he would issue a statement later and denied the allegations.
The lawsuit also names the Barbour County Commission. Attorney Keith Gamble says he's investigating.