GREENFIELD — A veterinarian is accused of taking female employees into private areas at a Greenfield animal clinic under the guise of teaching them new skills and then forcing himself on them, according to court documents.
Dr. John Hardin, a vet at the Greenfield Veterinary Clinic, has been charged with sexual battery after a volunteer and two former employees told police he had forced himself on them during incidents dating back to 2000.
The 71-year-old Hardin faces a felony charge of sexual battery and a misdemeanor charge of battery, court records show. He was arrested Thursday.
The three women told police Hardin had forced them to kiss him several times during the period in which they were working at his business despite their resisting his advances, according to court records. He had also touch them inappropriately, according to court records.
Staffers at the Greenfield Veterinary Clinic said Hardin was away from work Friday. A call to his personal number went unanswered. His attorney, John Davis of Greenfield, declined to comment on the case.
Andrea Holliday, a veterinary assistant at the clinic, told the Daily Reporter that in her 15 years of working with Hardin, she’s never heard such accusations, calling them completely false.
Police began investigating Hardin when a woman came to police during the summer to report Hardin’s actions, court records state.
She’d been volunteering at the Greenfield Veterinary Clinic since early May, and she’d noticed Hardin was “very touchy with everyone” including her, she told police. Hardin had tried to kiss or hug her, and she would tell him she didn’t want him to touch her, she told police.
Hardin would also press himself up against her while they were working with patients and had touched her on several occasions, the woman told police.
Eventually the actions escalated, court records state. Hardin repeatedly grabbed her by the hair and twisted her head so he could kiss her, court records said. That happened at least four times, she told police. Each time, she tried unsuccessfully to push Hardin off of her, court records state.
Police spoke with two former employees, and both said Hardin displayed similar behavior toward them. Both said Hardin would take them into private areas of the clinic on the pretense of teaching them new skills, then he would force himself on them, court records state.
One woman called Hardin “handsy” during her interview with police; the other said Hardin became irate after she brought her boyfriend with her to a company Christmas party. Hardin also made comments about wanting to get her pregnant, court record state.
Hancock County Jail records show Hardin posted a $2,000 cash bond and was released about an hour after his arrest on Thursday. Holliday said Hardin plans to continue working at the clinic while the case goes through the court system.
The sexual battery charge Hardin faces is a Level 6 felony carrying a penalty of six month to 2½ years in jail; the battery charge he faces is a Class B misdemeanor, carrying a possible 180 day sentence.