Crime & Courts

911 dispatcher: I was raped and Nome police colleagues ignored the case

  • Author: Kyle Hopkins
  • Updated: September 3
  • Published September 3

A Nome police dispatcher who says she was raped and filmed in her apartment has filed a complaint accusing police colleagues of failing to investigate the case.

Clarice "Bun" Hardy, 34, said a man sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious March 2017 in Nome. A third person recorded a portion of the encounter and posted a clip to Snapchat, she said.

Alaska State Troopers investigated, forwarding the case to the Nome District Attorney's Office, where it is now under review. The accusations come at a time of upheaval and turnover in the Nome police department.

City officials said they could not answer specific questions about Hardy's claims, citing employee privacy laws, but said the city recently conducted an audit of Nome police-work that led to employee discipline and "certain matters being referred to Alaska State Troopers."

Hardy said she waited more than a year for a local investigation into the alleged assault to begin and eventually made a report directly to troopers. In June, the city demoted police Lt. Nicholas Harvey – who Hardy said she first reported the assault to – to the rank of sergeant with a loss in pay.

"I've been seeing a counselor and psychiatrist who both diagnosed me with severe PTSD," Hardy wrote in a July 31 complaint to the Office of Victims' Rights. "My trauma comes from being raped but mostly from being re-victimized by Lieutenant Harvey and Chief."

The complaint accuses the Nome police department of negligence and misconduct.

Hired in 2015, Hardy said the trouble began last year during local Iditarod celebrations. Hardy and a friend went to Breakers Bar on Front Street, she said. She recalls having one drink and starting another.

"I didn't even get through my second one when I started feeling dizzy," said Hardy, who said she suspects she was drugged. She doesn't remember the cab ride home.

"I just remember the next day waking up with a big lump on the back of my head and all I had was a t-shirt on," Hardy said.

Friends began to call, asking her about a now-deleted video that appeared briefly on Snapchat, she said. A friend who reported seeing the clip — but who did not want to be identified out of fear of small-town reprisals — said the video showed a man having sex with Hardy, who appeared to be unconscious in her home.

Hardy said she told then-Lt. Nicholas Harvey that she had been raped. Harvey said he would look into it, she said.

"He told me exactly what he was going to do as for an investigation and a year later I found out that he didn't do anything," Hardy wrote in the complaint to the Office of Victims' Rights, accusing the department of misconduct and unfair treatment.

In March, Hardy said Police Chief John Papasodora asked her to write an account of the attack. At the time, Papasodora said he would refer the case to troopers, she said.

When no investigators called, Hardy reported the alleged assault to troopers herself May 9.

The man Hardy accused of raping her told investigators the two had consensual sex, according to a trooper spokeswoman.

Nome District Attorney John Earthman said he has received the troopers' findings in the case and, as of Friday, had not decided whether to file charges.

Asked to respond to details of Hardy's story, the City of Nome replied with a written statement labeled "Public Service Announcement." It says that on May 7, Nome officials were "made aware of several citizen allegations regarding the Nome Police Department's handling of certain cases."

The Nome Common Council passed a resolution to address the claims, the city said. A subsequent audit led to a "thorough review of case reports to identify areas where improvements were needed," officials wrote.

An attorney hired on contract by the city said the public service announcement relates to multiple concerns raised by the public, not only Hardy's case.

Papasodora, the police chief, has said he did not renew his contract which expires at the end of September. The city recently named a replacement, Robert Estes, who plans to hold a "Coffee with the Chief" meeting on his first day on the job to hear community concerns on policing.

Hardy remains employed by the city of Nome, according to the city manager. She said she is currently on family and medical leave.

Hardy said she wanted to make her allegations public in part because she felt that the police department had replaced her with a former Nome community services officer who recently pleaded guilty to punching a homeless woman.

"One thing I'm not going to be doing is being quiet," she said.