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W.Va. sheriff accused in lawsuit of sexual assault

Jul. 22, 2013 @ 06:15 PM

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — A woman claims in a lawsuit that Barbour County Sheriff John Hawkins sexually assaulted her during a job interview when she was 17 and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

Attorney Shawn Fluharty announced Monday that the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Elkins last week.

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.

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.