Former Tennessee Supervisory Corrections Officer Sentenced for Civil Rights Offenses After Assaulting an Inmate and Ignoring His Medical Needs
NASHVILLE – A nine-count indictment was unsealed today charging the former Cumberland County, Tennessee Solid Waste Director with civil rights violations, including kidnapping and sexually assaulting women that he supervised, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee. A federal grand jury in Nashville on Monday indicted Michael Harvel, 59, of Crossville, Tennessee. FBI agents arrested Harvel at his home this morning and he will appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge later today.
According to the indictment, Harvel was the Director of Solid Waste for Cumberland County with an office located in the Cumberland County Recycling Center. Harvel’s official duties included supervising workers at the recycling center and at other satellite locations and county landfills where he supervised dozens of women who served their community service time or worked as paid employees.
The indictment alleges that between 2015-2018, Harvel sexually assaulted seven women under his supervision. Specific allegations include that he kidnapped and sexually assaulted two women and forcibly raped one of them on two separate occasions.
During one incident in July 2017, Harvel confined a woman in a locked room at a county facility, physically pushed her onto a table and sexually assaulted her. In another incident in November 2015, Harvel approached another woman in a dark office, physically pushed her onto a desk and raped her. In December 2015, Harvel drove this same woman to an isolated landfill and raped her again.
The indictment alleges several other incidents of sexual assault, including fondling the breasts and genitals of other women under his supervision and against their will.
If convicted, Harvel faces up to life in prison.
This case is being investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Beth Myers and Trial Attorney Michael Songer of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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