Bedford County Fire & Rescue provided 'shagging shack' for sexual abuse, lawsuit claims

$10 million lawsuit filed in federal court

By Lindsey Ward - Anchor

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. - A $10 million federal lawsuit filed against Bedford County leadership claims the Bedford County Fire and Rescue Department allowed a "culture of sexual harassment."

The victim says the bunkroom of the man who assaulted her earned the nicknames the "love shack" or  "shagging shack."

Jane Doe, who was training to be a volunteer EMT with the department, alleges that former Field Lt. Larry Hawkins sexually assaulted her while on the job, according to the 25-page complaint. 

Doe, who was a minor at the time, claims that Hawkins threatened that if she told anyone about the assault, she would not become an EMT.

In May, Hawkins was sentenced to serve three years in prison for solicitation.

Doe says that Chief Jack Jones and the county could have prevented her assault, claiming the county had knowledge of Hawkins' past because they conducted a criminal background check. 

She says Jones had constructive knowledge because he was given the background check; however, she claims he never read it.   

The lawsuit also claims this type of behavior was prevalent in the department and that Jones had knowledge about the culture but did nothing about it.

We've reached out to Patrick Skelley, the Bedford County attorney, for comment and, so far, have not heard back.

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