Rocky McElhaney Law Firm issued a press release on Tuesday stating that they had filed a claim of sexual assault on behalf of their client, Mrs. Kiersten Rainey, City Finance Officer for the City of Clifton, against John E. Hickman, City Manager of Waynesboro. The claim was filed on June 12, 2020 in the 5th Circuit Court, docket number 20-C-1295. The alleged assault occurred on September 11, 2019 during a Tennessee Energy Conference held at Nashville’s Renaissance Hotel. The incident allegedly occurred in a hospitality room associated with the conference during a card game among a group of city employees. According to Mrs. Rainey, Mr. Hickman, who was seated next to her during the game, slid his hand up her thigh and began to sexually grope her against her will. The lawsuit filed by Rocky McElhaney Law Firm names both Hickman personally and the City of Waynesboro, TN, as Hickman was working in his official capacity while attending the conference.
In September of 2019, Mrs. Rainey and her colleagues, other employees of the City Government of Clifton, TN, traveled to Nashville for a Tennessee Energy Conference. Mr. Hickman also attended the conference in his role of City Manager of Waynesboro, TN. On the evening of September 11, 2019, several conference attendees gathered in the hospitality room and began a card game. Mrs. Rainey was a member of this group and was seated beside Mr. Hickman at the table.
According to Mrs. Rainey, during the course of the game, Mr. Hickman dropped some poker chips on the floor next to Mrs. Rainey and bent to pick them up. Mrs. Rainey alleged that it was at this point that Mr. Hickman touched her inappropriately. Mrs. Rainey stated that she reported the incident to the police the following day.
Rocky McElhaney Law Firm has filed suit against Hickman and has gone a step further by also holding the City of Waynesboro accountable for the actions of their employee. “We intend to hold the city responsible for negligent supervision, retention, training, and general negligence for sending Hickman to an out-of-county event where he could have the opportunity to prey on unsuspecting women,” stated Attorney McElhaney.
City Manager Hickman was unable to be reached for comment before the newspaper went to press on Tuesday.