Sheriff accused of sexually assaulting inmate he brought to his home
LOGAN COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) -- He had sworn to uphold the law.
Now, he's behind bars accused of breaking it.
Tom Hanna, the Sheriff of Sedgwick County -- in far northeastern Colorado -- appeared in court late Wednesday afternoon to hear charges he sexually assaulted an inmate.
A judge advised the disgraced sheriff of four criminal charges against him. Two are felonies that could send him to prison for life.
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The most serious is Sex Assault on an At-Risk Adult--a woman who stands 4'9" and says she's developmentally disabled.
It is a complete reversal of fortune, from Sedgwick County's top law enforcement officer to inmate.
No longer does Sheriff Hanna wear a distinguished police uniform--but an orange prisoner jumpsuit.
"The information given to me I had to act on quickly," says the 13th Judicial District Attorney Brittny Lewton.
That information alleges in an arrest affidavit that on August 10, Sheriff Hanna sexually assaulted an inmate he transported to his house in his own personal truck.
The inmate told investigators Hanna "wanted to have sex."
She said ..."he offered $60 dollars and ah he made me strip....he said, this has to stay between us, if it don't, I'm gonna take you to prison for the rest of your life."
The alleged assault coming to light when a Sedgwick County Deputy Larry Neugebauer saw Sheriff Hanna's pickup truck parked at his house--knowing the inmate was with him.
That was the beginning of the end of Hanna's reign.
Neugebauer reported it to the DA's Office. Then, Lewton called in the Colorado Bureau of Investigations for help.
A special prosecutor--appointed today--will push for Hanna's conviction.
"I really felt it was best for both the defendant and the public that a completely unbiased person or agency be the one that handles it," says Lewton, who recused herself from the case because of her professional ties to the Sheriff.
That special prosecutor, Mark Hurlbert, Assistant DA from the 18th Judicial District, asks for a half-million dollars bond for Hanna to get out of jail.
But the judge imposes $250,000 after Hanna says he has little money because of a pending divorce.
And now he has little choice but to return to the same place he helped put so many, as he's led out of the courtroom in handcuffs back to a cell.
Hanna said in court he contests every single one of the charges.
He denies touching the accuser.
He says he took his truck to transport her because he was going to leave to Denver from the jail in Logan County.
He claims when he was transporting her, she told him she had crime related information on her cellphone.
Hanna then says he made a poor decision by deciding to take her to his home. He said he works in a small town and was trying to avoid people seeing her talk to him about sensitive information.
He says the spoke about drug information for about 10 minutes and then they left.
Hanna will now spend his time in the Weld County Jail where they're able to segregate him from the inmate population.
The sheriff due back in court September 16 at 9:30 a.m.