Claims resurface against Hawkins

Editor’s Note: Today’s two stories regarding the civil suit filed in federal court against Barbour County Sheriff John Hawkins and the Barbour County Commission contain graphic as well as sexually explicit material. Readers are advised to proceed with caution.

The federal civil lawsuit recently filed against Barbour County and Sheriff John Hawkins is the latest in a long string of alleged incidents involving teenager Brittany Mae Keene and Hawkins.

Keene, of Moatsville, now 19, is the plaintiff in the suit, which names Hawkins and the Barbour County Commission as co-defendants in the 15-count case. Hawkins maintains his innocence, and the county has yet to issue a statement either through the commissioners or the commission’s legal counsel.

This isn’t the first time Keene has filed court documents accusing the sheriff of misconduct.

In May 2012, Keene filed a domestic violence protection order petition against Hawkins. At that time, she alleged Hawkins sexually assaulted her in July 2011 in a county-owned trailer at the Barbour County Fairgrounds.

Court documents filed Thursday in federal court outlined the previous history Keene alleges Hawkins had with her.

The new court filing states in late July/early August 2011 Hawkins “began communicating” with Keene, who was then younger than 18, via Facebook. Keene later sought employment at the Barbour County 911 Communications Center, and the lawsuit alleges Hawkins obtained Keene’s date of birth and cell phone number from the copy of her resume with which he was provided.

The lawsuit claims Hawkins began to text Keene and “arranged to meet her during the late evening hours … under the pretext of interviewing (Keene) for the 911 job.”

The two met in the Haven of Hope Church parking lot, and Hawkins told Keene to get into his county-owned vehicle, the filing states.

“Defendant Hawkins was wearing his uniform as well as his county-issued firearm,” the suit notes. Hawkins allegedly drove Keene to a camper owned by the Barbour County Commission and was located at the Barbour County Fairgrounds.

“He explained to (Keene) that he needed to interview (her) at a private location where they would not be seen so that people would not get the wrong idea,” the lawsuit states.

Despite knowing Keene was only 17, Hawkins then allegedly gave her an alcoholic beverage and ordered her to drink it, according to the lawsuit.

“Defendant Hawkins proceeded to ‘interview’ (Keene) and then abruptly declared that if (she) wanted the job, she would have to sleep with him,” the court filing states.

Keen refused and tried to leave, but Hawkins allegedly “slammed (her) face-forward” against the wall of the camper and handcuffed her hands behind her back, records show. The lawsuit goes on to state Hawkins forced Keene onto the bed inside the camper and stuffed “a bandanna or handkerchief in her mouth to silence her” when Keene began to scream for help.

The suit then alleges Hawkins forced Keene to have sexual intercourse with him. It also states Hawkins forced Keene to engaged in “sexually deviant behavior, including inserting a cucumber in the rectum of” of the alleged victim, “all during which (Keene) sobbed and cried.”

Hawkins then allegedly told Keene “if she said anything to anyone, he would kill her,” the lawsuit states. The sheriff subsequently sent Keene a text message “referencing the cucumber” and a picture he took of Keene when she was naked, according to the suit.

It further alleges Hawkins continued to make death threats to Keene, and on May 7, 2012, the sheriff sent her a text message “making a veiled threat to have (Keene) indicted.” The message read, “And you still want me to try and keep you from getting indicted … ,” the civil suit alleges.

Several days later, on May 11, 2012, Keene filed a domestic violence petition against Hawkins, after he had “once again” threatened to kill her and “hide her body so no one could find her,” according to the complaint.

A hearing in the matter was scheduled for June 5, 2012. However, before that hearing occurred, Keene was arrested on May 30, 2012, as the result of a sealed indictment.

According to previous Inter-Mountain reports, Keene was indicted in Barbour County Circuit Court on one felony count of receiving stolen property and two misdemeanor counts of transferring stolen property.

Those indictments later were dismissed without prejudice on Aug. 17, 2012. Keene’s defense attorney at the time, Paul J. Harris, filed a motion citing outrageous government misconduct and deficiency with the indictments.

The indictments alleged Keene came into possession of two guitars stolen from Haven of Hope Church in March 2012. This is the same location where Keene alleges she first met Hawkins for the 911 job interview in late summer 2011.

At the time of her indictments, Keene claimed she was being targeted in retaliation for filing a domestic violence protection order petition against Hawkins.

Multiple sessions of the Barbour County Grand Jury have convened since Keene’s indictments were dismissed. They’ve not been reissued to date and Keene has not been arrested on these or other charges.

Further, on June 5, 2012, the day of the scheduled hearing, Keene withdrew her request for the domestic violence protection order petition against Hawkins. The order for protection had been filed in Randolph County and was moved to Barbour County when a special prosecutor and judge both were appointed to hear the case.

At the time Hawkins made the following statement at a Barbour County Commission meeting: “The petitioner felt they couldn’t meet the burden of proof, so they decided before the hearing to dismiss the petition. So that’s a done deal.”

Keene, however, alleged she was unaware until after she had withdrawn the petition that she could have asked to have the hearing continued to a later date.

No further explanation was provided at that time.

Thursday’s filing was the first time since summer 2012 when the Keene-Hawkins allegations resurfaced in a legal format.