County employee accused of sexual assault on the job

County employee accused of sexual assault on the job

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - An Independence County employee is charged with four counts of sexual assault for incidents that reportedly happened on the job.

Terry Hastings is the supervisor for the Independence County Recycling Center.

He is accused of assaulting several inmates who were in the community service program while serving time at the Independence County Detention Center.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the first victim came forward on Oct. 6 saying Hastings assaulted her several times while she rode in the trash truck with him.

The woman said she was told Hastings requested she go with him because she was a good worker.

On the first day she went with him, the inmate alleges that Hastings reached over and grabbed her right breast while driving down the road.

She went on to say that Hastings would take her to a secluded area, pull down her pants, molest her, and perform oral sex on her.

She told investigators that Hastings began supplying her with razors and shaving cream to groom herself before he performed oral sex.

He also bought her food, soda, and tobacco during the day.

The inmate said the assault happened every day she rode with Hastings and that she felt like she didn't have a choice but to go along with his requests because "she was an inmate and he was the boss," according to the affidavit.

The woman said she intentionally got in trouble at the jail so she would get taken off community service.

Detectives with the Independence County Sheriff's Office began questioning other inmates in the community service program.

Two former inmates both claimed Hastings assaulted them.

One of the inmates, a 19-year-old woman, said Hastings assaulted her twice.

She said he made her feel guilty because he bought her food, sodas, and tobacco so she felt like she had to go along with the assault.

That inmate also said Hastings stopped at a Dollar General and bought her razors and shaving cream to groom herself.

A detective was able to get surveillance video from that Dollar General that showed Hastings driving to the store in his county-issued truck and buying the items that the inmate described.

A razor and a can of women's shave gel were found in that county vehicle.

According to the affidavit, Hastings said he thought inmates may have hidden those items in his vehicle, which was often left unlocked.

A detective also found evidence of pornographic websites and images on Hastings' county-issued phone.

Hastings was arrested on Oct. 20 and given a $50,000 bond. He is out of custody awaiting his next court appearance.

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