Settlement Reached in Civil Rights Suit against Former Barbour Sheriff
In her complaint filed nearly two years ago, Brittany Mae Keene alleged Hawkins began a series of conversations with her via Facebook in late July or early August 2011. At the time, she was 17 years-old, and he was in his first term as sheriff.
About that time, Keene alleged Hawkins lured her to a camper at the county fairgrounds under the pretext of interviewing her for a job at county 911 center. After entering the camper, she claims Hawkins offered her alcohol to drink.
When she attempted to leave, Keene claimed Hawkins pulled her back into the camper where he handcuffed her, stuffed a bandana into her mouth, and sexually assaulted her. Both after the encounter, and via subsequent text messages, Keene alleged Hawkins threatened to kill her if she spoke publicly about what happened.
However, Keene filed a domestic violence protective order against Hawkins on May 11, 2012. A week before a scheduled hearing on her petition, Keene was indicted by the Barbour County grand jury for receiving stolen property.
Though it was later dismissed, Keene alleged the indictment was brought as a form of retaliation for filing her domestic violence petition.
ELKINS, WV – A Barbour County woman’s lawsuit alleging while she was a teenager was coaxed into a sexual relationship by the former sheriff has come to a close.
Yesterday, trial was to begin in the case of Brittany Mae Keene v. John Wesley Hawkins, and the Barbour County Commission. However, U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey on Monday entered an order dismissing it after receiving word Keene, 21, and Hawkins,49, mediated a tentative settlement.
Records show Keene agreed to voluntarily dismiss the Commission from the suit on Friday.
Telephone calls to both Keene’s, and Hawkins’ attorneys, Paul Harris, and Harry Smith III, inquiring about the terms of the settlement were not immediately returned. Keith Gamble, attorney for the Commission, replied via email Tuesday noting Friday’s voluntary dismissal.
When asked if the Commission would still be required to disclose the terms since Hawkins was sued in his official…
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