Federal officials on Friday unsealed a nine-count indictment charging the former Cumberland County, Tennessee Solid Waste Director with civil rights violations, including kidnapping and sexually assaulting women he supervised.
This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee published on their website.
A federal grand jury in Nashville on Monday indicted Michael Harvel, 59, of Crossville. FBI agents arrested Harvel at his home Friday morning. According to the indictment. Harvel supervised dozens of women who served their community service time or worked as paid employees, the press release said.
“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,” according to the press release.
“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.”
Harvel, if convicted, faces up to life in prison, the press release said.
According to LinkedIn, Harvel started at the Cumberland County Solid Waste Department in September 2010.
According to the March 24 edition of The Crossville Chronicle, Cumberland County officials agreed to pay $1.1 million as part of a sexual harassment lawsuit involving Harvel. The U.S. Justice Department filed that lawsuit.
“Several of the women reported Harvel’s harassment to their supervisors at the recycling center, but their complaints did not lead to any action by the county,” the paper reported, quoting the lawsuit.
“Others said they did not complain because they were unaware of the complaint process and ‘because they did not believe the county mayor, to whom the policy suggested they report, would be impartial based on his personal relationship with Harvel; or because they feared reprisal, such as termination.’”
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