Former NASCAR driver files wrongful arrest lawsuit, alleges accuser was bribed with marijuana, cash – The Denver Post
A NASCAR driver has filed a wrongful arrest lawsuit against Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams that also accuses a Broomfield man of allegedly bribing a girl with cash and marijuana to falsely accuse him of molestation.
The civil lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Denver by attorney Brian DeBauche on behalf of Adam Hilton against Reams, several sheriff’s investigators and Harold Joseph Bellm III, the father of his accuser. Hilton was acquitted of two counts of sexual assault in a June 2016 criminal case.
Hilton seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages in part due to “loss of reputation, humiliation…mental anguish.” Hilton lost his job as a NASCAR racer as a direct result of the allegations, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit claims that Bellm gave the victim marijuana to make false claims against Hilton, the victim’s stepfather, after he married Bellm’s ex-wife.
“Her reports were entirely motivated by her father Harold Joseph Bellm III, who coerced and bribed her into lying directly to police, courts, prosecutors and child protection professionals,” the lawsuit says. The lawsuit identifies Bellm as a “race promoter” who has been “accused of moral turpitude crimes throughout his career.”
The lawsuit says investigators should have realized that the allegations made in December of 2014 were false in part because he was accused of molesting the girl, who was then 14, at a home before the family had moved into it and in a barn before the barn had been built.
The alleged victim frequently changed her allegations against Hilton, the lawsuit says. For example, she first claimed he touched her leg on the way to a Burger King in 2007, but later said that he sexually assaulted her. Allegations including how many times she was molested and the locations where the events happened also changed, the lawsuit says.
Hilton accuses investigators of failing to corroborate the “contradictions and fabrications” of the alleged victim’s statements or to review past custody battles that had an impact on the case including attempting to end parental rights of the victim’s mother, the lawsuit says.
In a second interview with investigators, the victim allegedly accused Hilton of molesting her at the Erie Recreation Center pool, which is a “busy, guarded pool,” the lawsuit says.
Bellm’s bribery included giving the alleged victim cash, failing to discipline her, introducing her to marijuana use, and getting her birth control when she was 15, the lawsuit says.
Bellm also allegedly threatened defense witnesses in the case. Bellm called NASCAR in an effort get Hilton’s racing license terminated and repeatedly made announcements on social media about the sexual allegations, ignoring his daughter’s need for privacy, the lawsuit says. He also tracked and monitored his former wife using an iPad linked to her phone account, the lawsuit says.
Bellm was arrested in 2015 on a charge of violating a restraining order protecting his ex-wife Shawni LaGuardia Hilton.
The lawsuit accuses Reams of failing to properly train and supervise investigators involved in the case.