HILLSDALE COUNTY — The victim of a former Hillsdale County sheriff’s deputy convicted of misconduct in office for using his position of authority to advance a sexual relationship with her, has filed a lawsuit against the deputy, the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office and the county of Hillsdale.
In the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Ariane Duby argues her constitutional rights and other rights were violated by the actions of Barkley, the sheriff's office and county. She is seeking an order from the court stating that the defendants' practices and conduct violated her rights as well as an amount of actual and punitive damages to be determined at a trial.
The lawsuit says that former Deputy Todd Barkley responded to a civil disturbance on July 19, 2020, that involved Duby. At that time, Barkley was informed Duby had a substance abuse issue.
Just over a month later, Barkley pulled Duby’s vehicle over on suspicion of driving without a license and, after arresting her, initiated “inappropriate communications” with her, her family, friends and others “laying the groundwork for his sexually predatory plans.”
Barkley then allegedly began stalking Duby and using his position as a deputy to pull people over leaving her home.
In September 2020, the sheriff’s office — then under the leadership of former Sheriff Tim Parker — was notified of Barkley’s behavior. Barkley’s behavior allegedly intensified from then on despite additional complaints from the public to members and supervisors at the department regarding Barkley’s sexual misconduct against not only Duby but other women in the community with drug addictions.
Hillsdale County Sheriff Scott Hodshire was appointed to fill a vacancy left by Parker’s retirement before he officially took office after winning the 2020 election and reappointed Barkley as a deputy; Hodshire is also named in Duby’s suit.
In February 2021, Duby was arrested for drug possession and Barkley, in his official capacity, advocated for Duby to be sent to substance abuse treatment at Changes Rehabilitation in Fulton, Kentucky.
During her time there, Barkley visited Duby and used his badge to remove her from the facility, supplied her with alcohol and had sex with her at a motel before returning her to the facility.
It’s alleged that upon his return to Michigan, Barkley continued sexual communications, sexual touching and intercourse with Duby in Michigan which Duby claims violated her civil rights, state law and the public’s trust.
In a separate incident, body-worn camera video showed that Barkley arrested another young woman with a drug addiction and flirted with her before the bodycam was shut off. The young woman — who was not identified — was not booked until a few weeks later.
Upon her being booked into the Hillsdale County Jail, she informed a corrections deputy she was surprised by her arrest as she had had sexual intercourse with Barkley two weeks prior.
Barkley told Duby that her sexual relationship with him “would prove advantageous” with respect to the outcome of her pending drug possession case as well as other legal matters and instructed her to remain silent and deny the sexual acts he perpetrated until she was sentenced.
Hodshire terminated Barkley’s employment from the department in 2022 and cooperated with a Michigan State Police investigation which eventually led to criminal charges filed by Michigan’s attorney general.
Barkley pleaded guilty to misconduct in office, a five-year felony, in a plea deal and was sentenced to three years’ probation and 90 days in jail suspended. He is now required to register as a Tier 1 sex offender and his law enforcement certification has been revoked.
Attorneys for the county of Hillsdale stated they do not comment on pending litigation.
Duby is represented by attorney Brian Bourbeau of a Clinton Township law firm. The defendants are represented by attorneys Andrew Brege and Alexandra Page of a Lansing firm. The case is assigned to District Judge Shalina D. Kumar.
Barkley was hired and began field training with the sheriff’s department in December 2019 after a short career with the Michigan Department of Corrections. Prior to that, he worked as a police officer in Homer from 2003-09.
— Contact Reporter Corey Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @cmurrayHDN.
This article originally appeared on Hillsdale Daily News: Lawsuit filed against former sheriff's deputy, Hillsdale County