Home News Former police officer claims she engaged in sexual activity with ex-police chief

Former police officer claims she engaged in sexual activity with ex-police chief

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Ashley Perham
The Charleston Gazette-Mail, W.Va.
(TNS)

Mar. 25—A former Charleston police officer has filed a lawsuit against former Charleston Police Chief James “Tyke” Hunt, alleging that Hunt engaged in sexual activity with her when he was her superior.

Attorneys representing the officer, Chelsea McCoy, filed the lawsuit earlier this month in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

Alleged inappropriate conduct

According to the lawsuit, McCoy began the employment process with the Charleston Police Department in late 2017. She became friends with Hunt, who was a sergeant at the time.

McCoy said she told Hunt she was afraid she wouldn’t pass a polygraph test because of a history of drug use. Hunt told McCoy that, if she engaged in sexual activity with him, “he would ensure that she passed the polygraph,” according to the lawsuit. Hunt and McCoy allegedly engaged in sexual activity immediately after the polygraph test in April 2018. McCoy passed the polygraph.

McCoy was employed as an officer from May 2018 to February 2019.

Rehiring

In early 2020, she began the process of becoming a Charleston police officer again, which required another polygraph. According to the lawsuit, she was told that she wouldn’t be asked about anything that happened before she reapplied to the department.

In late 2020, Hunt — then the city’s chief of police — invited McCoy to his office and again requested they engage in sexual activity, the lawsuit says. McCoy felt “coerced to engage in said sexual activity,” according to the lawsuit.

In addition to these alleged sexual encounters, the lawsuit claims “continuous sexual harassment while on active duty.”

Resignation

In January 2021, McCoy — who was a member of the West Virginia National Guard at the time — was placed on active military duty. She intended to return to work at the department when her deployment ended.

During that time, the lawsuit alleges, McCoy became aware that she was being investigated by the department for “conduct unbecoming an officer.”

In March 2022, McCoy reportedly received a schedule to return to work but, a few days later, Officer Richie Basford, of the Charleston Police Department, requested to meet with her. In the lawsuit, McCoy says Basford told her it would be in her best interest to resign, which she took as a “threatening message” from Hunt, through Basford.

McCoy resigned from the department on March 30, 2022.

She is seeking reinstatement to the force with her prior rank and seniority, lost wages and additional compensation, among other things in her lawsuit.

Complaints were filed against Hunt with the West Virginia State Police and Charleston Police Department in August 2023, and the Charleston police began an internal investigation. Hunt, who had stepped down from his position as chief, and Basford were subsequently placed on administrative leave in September.

New Police Chief Scott Dempsey said earlier this year that the department’s investigation was nearing its end.

As of Monday, Basford is off administrative leave and back at work. Hunt is still on administrative leave.

In a statement Monday, City Attorney Kevin Baker said the lawsuit had been received and his office was reviewing it. Dempsey said he was unable to comment on pending litigation.

Ashley Perham is a city reporter. She can be reached at 304-348-1240 or aperham@hdmediallc.com. Follow @ashleymperham on Twitter.

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