An elected sheriff from a rural county in Colorado has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled woman at his home before transporting her to jail, court documents showed on Wednesday.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Thomas Hanna faces felony charges of sexual assault of an at-risk adult and sexual conduct with an inmate, as well as misdemeanor counts of official misconduct and soliciting prostitution, an arrest warrant affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, Hanna was transporting the woman from the town of Julesburg to a lockup in a neighboring county on Aug. 10 when he took her to his house and asked if she wanted to earn $60.
The woman, who investigators described as functionally “delayed,” said Hanna told her, “I just want sex,” then ordered her to strip before groping her and threatening to lock her up for the rest of her life if she reported the incident.
Hanna, 43, who was elected in 2014, was taken into custody on Tuesday after a criminal probe conducted by Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents and district attorney investigators, court records showed.
Hanna made his first court appearance on Wednesday, where his bond was set at $250,000, and he will be charged at a later date, according to a statement from a Denver-area district attorney who was appointed special prosecutor in the case.
Hanna could face a sentence of eight years to life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, the prosecutor said.
The investigation of Hanna was launched after one of his deputies, Larry Neugebauer, told authorities he saw the sheriff put the prisoner in his personal truck, a violation of department policy, and later saw the truck and a patrol car parked outside Hanna’s home.
Hanna denied to investigators that he assaulted the woman, but admitted it was a “poor decision” to take her to his house to discuss criminal activity in the area, the affidavit said. He declined to take a polygraph test.
Investigator Jeff Huston said the woman, who has not been identified publicly, was timid, hard to understand and had difficulty putting her thoughts together when she was interviewed by police.
The woman told Huston she was “ashamed” of her disability and did not understand that she had been victimized, the affidavit said.
Sedgwick County is a sprawling but sparsely populated farming and ranching area in the northeastern corner of the state bordering Nebraska.
(Editing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Paul Tait).
Watch a report on Hanna’s arrest, as aired on KCNC-TV, below.
‘Looks like the smoking gun’: Meghan McCain less skeptical of impeachment after Bill Taylor testimony
Meghan McCain gave her strongest indication yet that President Donald Trump was doomed to impeachment, but she was in no mood to talk about it on her birthday.
The conservative host of "The View" turned 35 on Wednesday, a day after former Ukraine ambassador told lawmakers that President Donald Trump had directed efforts to freeze military aid to pressure the foreign ally to investigate political rival Joe Biden.
"This is just killing my vibe," McCain said. "I'm sorry, it's very bad."
"Look, I can't -- I just can't today," McCain said. "I'm so sorry. I would love to stay on this, but it's really bad. It looks like it's highly unethical, and it looks like the smoking gun. That's my political analysis for today. It's my 35th birthday, and I want to move on."
Watch: All of Trump’s failed defenses for his Ukraine scandal
CNN's Kate Bolduan on Wednesday reminded her viewers that Trump allies' defenses of the president throughout the Ukraine scandal have continued to evolve after new facts emerge that undercut their older defenses.
While talking with the New Yorker's Susan Glasser, Bolduan delivered an exhausted list of all the failed defenses that the president and his supporters have made to justify Trump's efforts to push Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.
"First it was the president was trying to root out corruption when it came to Ukraine," she began. "Then it was there was no direct ask coming from the president. Then it was the whistleblower can't be trusted, then it was Schiff helped the whistleblower write the complaint so it can't be trusted, and then it was the president was joking, Republicans said, when he said on camera that he would like to see investigations. Then it was there was no quid pro quo because Ukraine didn't know the aid was being withheld... and now it's the process is unfair, so you can't impeach."
Republicans commit ‘significant breach’ after storming closed-door hearings by bringing cellphones to secure area
As various news outlets have reported, over a dozen House Republicans this Wednesday tried to force their way into the closed door hearings where deputy assistant secretary of defense Laura Cooper is set to testify in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump's Ukraine fiasco. According to Republicans, the closed-door hearings are a sign that Democrats are shutting them out of the impeachment process, creating a lack of transparency -- even though there are three Republicans who are present at the hearings and are able to ask questions.