Former Tennessee solid waste director charged with sexually assaulting women he supervised

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The former Cumberland County Solid Waste Director has been indicted on federal charges after investigators said he sexually assaulted seven women under his supervision.

Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee said Michael Harvel, 59, was arrested by FBI agents at his home in Crossville on Friday morning.

The arrest followed a nine-count indictment Monday by a federal grand jury, including charges for kidnapping and sexual assault.

The indictment states Harvel was the Director of Solid Waste for Cumberland County with an office located in the Cumberland County Recycling Center. His job included managing workers at the recycling center and at other satellite locations and county landfills, where he supervised dozens of women who served their community service time or worked as paid employees.

Federal court documents allege that between 2015 to 2018, Harvel sexually assaulted seven women under his supervision. Specific allegations include that he kidnapped and sexually assaulted two women and forcibly raped one of them on two separate occasions.

During one incident in July 2017, the paperwork states Harvel confined a woman in a locked room at a county facility, physically pushed her onto a table and sexually assaulted her.

In another incident in November 2015, the indictment alleges he approached a woman in a dark office, physically pushed her onto a desk and raped her. The following month, Harvel drove this same woman to an isolated landfill and raped her again, according to investigators.

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The indictment alleges several other incidents of sexual assault, including fondling the breasts and genitals of other women under his supervision and against their will.

Harvel will appear before a U.S. Magistrate judge on Friday. If convicted of the charges against him, he faces up to life in prison.

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