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Cornell Police Officer Files Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Former Police Chief

Cornell Police Officer Files Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Former Police Chief

April 18, 2024 2:13 PM CDT
By: James Kelly

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A Cornell Police Officer has filed a federal lawsuit against former Chief Brian Hurt and the City of Cornell, accusing Hurt of sexually assaulting her at work.

In the complaint filed by Officer Heather Hutchins, she accused former Chief Hurt of inappropriately touching her back and shoulders shortly after she started the job in early 2021. After that incident, she told him not to do again and that it was inappropriate.

The complaint further alleges that on March 25th, Hurt instigated a sexually explicit conversation while the two were in a squad car, and later that same day kissed her in the break room of the Cornell police station and forced her to put her hand on his genitals.

Officer Hutchins reported the sexual assault that day, and according to the criminal complaint, Hurt threatened to commit suicide after confronting her. The complaint further alleges that the following day, Hurt apologized for sexually assaulting her and implied that she shouldn’t say anything about it or she could lose her job. The lawsuit alleges severe emotional pain, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of the incident.

In Hurt’s response to the complaint, he alleged that it was Officer Hutchins who initiated the aforementioned conversation and kiss, and denied any wrongdoing on his part. The City of Cornell also responded, saying the inappropriate advances had been reported but not the alleged assault.

At the time, former Chief Hurt was already scheduled to retire within a couple weeks of the alleged incident.

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