Legal team files motion to hold City of Nome in contempt of court and for sanctions.

(Photo courtesy of Victoria Mckenzie)

Clarice “Bun” Hardy’s legal team was forced to take further action against the City of Nome, which continues to disobey a court order directing it to provide records pertinent to resolving this case and bringing closure to Hardy.

Last week, the ACLU of Alaska, ACLU National, and Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller & Monkman, LLP, filed a motion to hold the City of Nome in contempt of court and for sanctions after the city disregarded a July court decision, which orders defendants to respond to numerous discovery requests seeking to reveal how and why Nome police failed to investigate Hardy’s case and other cases of sexual assault. Seven weeks later, the City of Nome has not provided Hardy’s legal team a single document.

“It is extremely unusual to file a motion for sanctions because a defendant so blatantly disregarded what the court ordered it to do. In refusing to comply with the court order, Nome is refusing to do right by Ms. Hardy. The City of Nome is treating this motion for discovery the same way it has treated sexual assault victims in Nome for years, with callous disregard,” ACLU of Alaska Legal Director Stephen Koteff said.

More than four years ago, Hardy filed a sexual assault report with the Nome Police Department (NPD). Despite her numerous pleas to help her, NPD never even gave her report a case number.

Hardy v. Nome was filed in February 2020 but stalled earlier this year after the City of Nome raised multiple unreasonable objections, refused to cooperate with standard legal proceedings of a civil suit of this nature, and failed to meet mutually agreed upon deadlines. As a result, Hardy’s legal team filed a motion to compel, to which the court responded in July with a 20-page decision ordering defendants to produce discovery.

In the seven weeks since the court issued its order, Hardy’s counsel made repeated attempts to get Nome to cooperate and provide documents it has, but these attempts were unsuccessful, resulting in the September 9 filing.

The City of Nome has to respond by September 23.

Hardy v. Nome specifically asks the court to issue injunctions that order the City of Nome to cease any discriminatory practices by law enforcement and to take steps to ensure all reports of sexual assault are investigated thoroughly without regard to the victim’s race or gender, and to train law enforcement to adequately investigate reports of sexual assault in an effective and thorough manner.