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Date set for Barbour Sheriff John Hawkins' civil trial

A trial date is set in the civil case against Barbour Sheriff John Hawkins, accused of sexually assaulting a teen girl during a job interview in 2011.

A jury will convene Sept. 30, 2014, to hear arguments in a federal lawsuit filed by Brittany Mae Keene. The lawsuit was filed in the federal courthouse in Elkins against Barbour Sheriff John Hawkins and the Barbour County Commission.

The 14-count complaint filed in July alleges Hawkins provided alcohol to a minor, falsely imprisoned her, battered her, sexually assaulted her, used excessive force, committed civil conspiracy and disseminated nude photos of her, among others. Keene is seeking monetary damages.

Keene went on the record with her accusations in an interview with the Inter-Mountain newspaper in June 2012.

She claims Hawkins met her late one evening in the summer of 2011 after her shift at a grocery store to talk to her about her job application for a position at the county 911 center. He allegedly met her in his county-issued police cruiser and was wearing his uniform and sidearm.

The complaint states he drove her to a camper owned by the county commission on the county fairgrounds near Philippi, where he gave her alcohol, knowing she was underage, and "interviewed" her. She alleges he told her during the interview that she would have to sleep with him if she wanted the job.

She refused but said he then slammed her into the wall and handcuffed her hands behind her back before forcing her to a bed. She said he stuffed a bandana into her mouth to muffle her screams as he raped her and sodomized her with a cucumber, according to court documents.

The sheriff allegedly threatened to kill her if she told anyone. He sent her a photo he'd taken of her naked body and referenced the cucumber in a text message to further humiliate her, the complaint said.

Keene claims that Hawkins had her indicted on theft charges to keep her from moving forward with a domestic violence petition. She said Hawkins was in charge of that investigation.

She dropped the domestic violence petition five days after she was indicted. The indictment was dismissed, according to court documents.

She also claims to know of four others, three of whom were aged 16, 18 and 19 at the time, who were sexually assaulted or coerced into performing sexual acts on him.

Hawkins has denied the allegations in court documents. He claims Keene sought employment with the 911 center and gave him her application, which he then forwarded to the 911 center's director, court documents showed.   

"I don't mind being tried in court, as I will deny all the allegations," Hawkins wrote on his Facebook page. "It's a civil suit for money. I just hate my family having to go through all the mudslinging in the media again."

Jury selection is set for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 30, 2014, in Elkins. The trial will begin immediately after, with U.S. Chief Judge John Preston Bailey presiding.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.


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