ELKINS, W.Va. -- A sheriff has formally denied charges that he sexually assaulted a woman when she was a 17-year-old applying for a job at the Barbour County 911 center.
Barbour County Sheriff John Hawkins filed an answer to the victim's charges this week in U.S. District Court in Elkins, denying any wrongdoing in the 2011 incident or the victim's arrest the following year.
Defense attorney Harry Smith's response also asks Judge John Preston Bailey to strike from her complaint some "silly, unnecessarily sensational and blatantly attention-seeking" language.
Specifically, he wrote, the victim accused the county of failing to provide Hawkins "training in how not to act 'in a brutish fashion as would a Neanderthal.'"
Hawkins also specifically denied the claim that he has a "proclivity and tendency for violence and excessive force," and that he used that force on other female victims.
The Barbour County Commission has also said it will fight the accusations and that it's found no evidence to support them.
The victim sued last month, claiming Hawkins sexually assaulted her then threatened to kill her if she told anyone.
The complaint lists 14 counts in addition to sexual assault, including unlawful arrest, excessive force, civil conspiracy, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
The woman filed a protective order against Hawkins last year but later dropped it. She claims Hawkins retaliated by heading an investigation that led to stolen property charges against her. They were later dismissed.
Hawkins denied that charge, too.
The sheriff is also being sued separately in state court for libel by private investigator Franklin Streets, who claims he was defamed and falsely accused in a Facebook post on Hawkins' page. It referred to phone calls "from people who were offered money by the investigator to sign false statements."