Purcellville Town Attorney Sally Hankins Accused of Sexual Harassment

Purcellville Town Attorney Sally Hankins Accused of Sexual Harassment

Today, Interim Town Manager Alex Vanegas filed a formal complaint with Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser and town council members of sexual harassment and discrimination against Town Attorney Sally Hankins.  Further, Vanegas called for Hankins to be placed on administrative leave.

Hankins was recently named in the investigation against Purcellville Police Chief Cynthia McAlister where McAlister was found to have abused her authority, violated procedural policies, instructed selective enforcement, tampered with IA investigations, violated general orders, used employee intimidation, and was untruthful.  To avoid a conflict of interest, Hankins was not allowed to be active in or even attend the council’s closed session meeting.  That meeting resulted in the council’s unanimous vote of no confidence against McAlister continuing as Chief.  Vanegas terminated McAlister the next day. The Tribune has extensively reported on this developing situation here.

Sources said Hankins was livid that she was named and not allowed to be involved. Hankins was known to support McAlister and adamant in her attempt to derail any vote of no confidence by the council.

Ultimately, Hankins, as the town attorney is responsible for protecting the town from, among other things, itself–from actions like those revealed about McAlister which placed the town in positions of potential criminal and civil liability. Cleaning house, by removing the former town manager and now McAlister could eventually demonstrate Hankins allowed much of this to knowingly occur under her watch.

It was common knowledge that Hankins, from the direction of Fraser and majority of town council members, was the next to be terminated.

In a novel-based twist, however, Vanegas was all-of-a-sudden accused of having an “affair” with the contract investigator on the McAlister case based on mysterious emails in Vanegas’ spam folder.  This accusation caused Fraser to place Vanegas on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Subsequently, while the investigation on McAlister still stood, she was “reinstated,” although kept on administrative leave pending an independent “audit” of the investigation.

Vanegas states the allegations of an affair are not only untrue but created as a smear campaign, deflection, and the brainchild of Hankins.

Hankins, according to Vanegas, has a history of conjuring up false malicious allegations.

“This is not the first time that I have seen discriminatory practices by Ms. Hankins.  In fact, this is very similar to the inappropriate and disingenuous attack that Sally Hankins launched just before I was announced [as] Interm Town Manager,” wrote Vanegas to the Mayor and council members. “I firmly believe that this personal agenda by Ms. Hankins reverts back to my rejecting [Hankins’] inappropriate advances made towards me while she was separated from her husband Dave.  From that moment [Hankins] has inappropriately made me a target.”

Sources state that Hankins knew Vanegas was going through a separation and Hankins had made numerous advances toward Vanegas.

Based on the trend in Purcellville and seriousness of Vanegas’ claim, Hankins will likely be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Vanegas is expected to file a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Acts of discrimination of this nature are against both federal and state law under the sexual harassment section of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This is a developing story.

Brian Reynolds