By Emily Hofstaedter
Nome rejected an initial offer from the ACLU to settle on behalf of an Alaska Native woman who claims police failed to properly investigate her rape allegations. The ACLU said the city sent what the ACLU calls an “extremely callous deflection” of the ACLU’s initial $500-thousand dollar settlement offer on behalf of Clarice ‘Bun’ Hardy.
“Presently our understanding is that Nome’s position is that if we want compensation or justice for Hardy, we will have to see them in court,” said Stephen Koteff, Legal Director for the ACLU Alaska.
The ACLU says Hardy’s case exemplifies the threat to countless Alaska Native sexual assault victims in Nome. Koteff says Hardy has waited long enough for justice.
“While we do not have a timeline, we do not expect to add to that delay,” he said
Hardy claims police investigators failed to adequately follow up on her allegation she was raped in March 2017.
While the city’s most recent response acknowledges there may have been a failure of one police officer to adequately perform his job, they deny allegations the department deliberately neglected Native women.
The case is being handled by the city attorney and Nome’s insurance adjuster.
Meanwhile, the city’s police chief announced last week he’s stepping down after just over a year on the job. Chief Bob Estes had launched an audit of all department sexual assault cases going back to 2005. He has since put the review on hold because of a lack of investigators.