Fulton County woman sues Hapeville for covering up sexual assault

A Fulton County woman who says she was sexually assaulted by a Hapeville city employee filed suit Friday against the city, accusing members of the police department of attempting to cover up the assault.

The lawsuit alleges the employee, John Peeples, trapped the woman in a locked room and forced her to perform a sexual act on him while she was doing community service for a traffic violation. Peeples was acting as the overseer for the city’s community service workers when the incident took place in December 2016.

The woman is seeking a trial by jury and more than $1 million in damages.

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According to the suit, the woman recorded the incident on her cellphone and saved a sample of Peeple’s DNA, which she provided to Hapeville police Sgt. Barry Barnes. The suit alleges Barnes erased the recording from the woman’s phone.

According to a police report Barnes wrote, Peeples admitted to having a sexual encounter with the woman, but claimed it was consensual. The report notes Barnes closed the case “due to a lack of crime.”

Barnes wrote in his report that he advised the woman to speak with her sentencing judge about having her community service moved to a different location.

“Instead of properly investigating and prosecuting Defendant Peeples, the Defendants conspired to cover-up the incident by failing to properly investigate this incident, failing to preserve available evidence, destroying evidence, and ignoring the physical and medical evidence,” the suit reads. Peeples, Barnes and Hapeville police chief Richard M. Glavosek are all named as defendants in the suit.

The Hapeville human resources department confirmed Peeples is no longer employed by the city, but Barnes is.

“The complaint was just received, and we have not had time to review and analyze the contents,” said city attorney Steven Fincher. “Nevertheless, we believe that the allegations of attempted concealment by city agents are not true.”

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