A Barbour County woman has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Court in Elkins against the Barbour County Commission and Barbour County Sheriff John Hawkins, in both a personal and professional capacity.
The suit, filed by Brittany Mae Keene, 19, accuses Hawkins of charges named in a 15 count indictment, including unlawful arrest, excessive force, civil conspiracy and sexual assault. Keene was indicted in May 2012 on a felony charge of receiving stolen property and a misdemeanor charge of transferring stolen property. Keene stole two guitars from Haven of Hope Church, according to court documents. Keene pawned one of them and gave the other one to another person.
In June 2012, Barbour County Prosecuting Attorney Leckta Poling and Circuit Judge Alan Moats recused themselves from working with Keene's case after she claimed in a local newspaper that her arrest was retaliation for improper conduct accusations she made against Hawkins. In August 2012, Keene asked Judge John Henning to dismiss her indictment. Henning dismissed the case without prejudice.
Sheriff Hawkins told WBOY-TV July 22 that just as he has done in the past he denies Keene's claims and will defend himself in court and not in the media. "Over the next few months, this lawsuit will proceed. Both sides have attorneys who will exchange information and negotiate. The outcome, the plaintiff seeks money for damages caused by her allegations. Either they will get money or they won't. That will be up to a jury to decide," said Hawkins in a statement Tuesday. You can read Hawkins' complete statement here.
The Barbour County Commission's legal counsel Keith Gamble told WBOY-TV on July 23 that it was too early in the case for him to comment on the lawsuit filing.
Keene's court filings indicate that she demands a trial by jury in the case.