Five years after Clarice ‘Bun’ Hardy’s report of sexual assault was ignored by the Nome Police Department (NPD), she and her legal team finalized a settlement in her lawsuit against the City that includes a $750,000 payment and an apology from the City of Nome.
“I have been reliving trauma for the last five years, but not for nothing,” Hardy said. “My hope is that the City of Nome stays true to the promise made in the apology and that it follows through on measures to ensure what happened to me doesn’t happen again. More importantly though, I hope that hearing Nome take accountability for what happened helps the hundreds of other people who suffered by similar circumstances heal.”
In March of 2017, Hardy – a then 911 dispatcher – was raped. She reported the assault to officials at the NPD officials, but her report was repeatedly ignored. A later investigation into the department revealed hundreds of sexual assault reports, most filed by Alaska Native women, went without investigation.
“Bun’s courage to speak up became a catalyst for change,” ACLU of Alaska Legal Director Stephen Koteff said. “Because of Bun, the backlog of cases has been addressed and there has been meaningful changes in leadership. We believe a settlement of this size will be a deterrent for future bad behavior, but the community must continue to demand accountability and transparency.”
"Law enforcement agencies across the country must be committed to ensuring that sexual assault survivors, particularly Indigenous women, are treated with dignity and respect by those sworn in to protect them,” said Mark Carter, ACLU Racial Justice Program staff attorney. “We are pleased that, with this settlement, the City of Nome has acknowledged the injustice that Bun has endured over the past five years. Law enforcement must be held accountable for perpetuating racial and gender-based discrimination against Indigenous women."
The settlement will result in a dismissal of the lawsuit and payment to Hardy within seven days, as stated in the agreement.
Hardy was represented by the ACLU of Alaska, the ACLU Racial Justice Project, and Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller & Monkman, LLP.