CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A private investigator says Barbour County Sheriff John Hawkins libeled him in a Facebook post that responded to the recent federal lawsuit alleging Hawkins sexually assaulted a teenage job applicant.
Franklin Streets sued Hawkins this week in circuit court, alleging the sheriff targeted him for working with the lawyers representing the woman who filed the federal case.
The woman alleges Hawkins raped her when she was 17, during what was supposed to be a 2011 job interview, and then threatened to kill her if she told anyone.
The post on Hawkins' Facebook page referred to phone calls "from people who were offered money by the investigator to sign false statements." Streets lawsuit said the statement falsely accuses him of a crime and defames him.
Hawkins could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. He and the Barbour County Commission have each said they will fight the sexual assault lawsuit.
Streets' lawyer is Shawn Fluharty, one of the lawyers representing the woman in the federal case. She filed a domestic violence petition against Hawkins last year but later dropped it. She alleges Hawkins retaliated by heading an investigation that led to stolen property charges against her that later were dismissed.
The U.S. District Court lawsuit, filed July 18, lists 14 counts in addition to sexual assault including unlawful arrest, excessive force, civil conspiracy, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.