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Nome, Alaska sued by woman who says rape wasn't investigated

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Clarice Hardy speaks at a news conference Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska filed a lawsuit Thursday on Hardy's behalf against the City of Nome, Alaska, and two former officers for failing to investigate the sexual assault report filed by Hardy, a former police dispatcher. On the left is Joshua Decker, executive director of the ACLU of Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A former police dispatcher in a small Alaska town filed a lawsuit Thursday, alleging her colleagues in the Nome Police Department didn’t investigate after she filed a rape report.

Clarice Hardy’s lawsuit claims the inaction was “part of the city’s systemic and ongoing failure to protect Alaska Native woman from sexual abuse and assault.”

The Associated Press does not normally name alleged victims of sexual assault but Hardy has repeatedly spoken in public about her experience.

The lawsuit filed in federal court on behalf of Hardy by the ACLU seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial in Nome. It came after complaints by Alaska Native women were investigated by The Associated Press, the Anchorage Daily News and other media outlets.

The six counts in the lawsuit includes a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Last year, the ACLU sent a demand letter, seeking $500,000 on Hardy’s behalf if the city was willing to settle out of court.

“Those claims were essentially ignored, much like Miss Hardy’s have, and the city refused to negotiate with us,” Stephen Koteff, ACLU’s legal director in Alaska, told reporters.

The lawsuit also seeks an injunction to force the City of Nome to cease any discriminatory practices and ensure all sexual assault reports are investigated thoroughly. It also seeks punitive damages from the city and separately from two former police officers.