TBI returns Hatcher case to Blount D.A.

By Lance Coleman
Senior reporter
Blount Today

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has completed their investigation and turned over to Blount County District Attorney Mike Flynn the case involving allegations that a Blount County judicial commissioner coerced a 17-year-old girl into his office and forced her to put on revealing lingerie and perfume in his presence. The TBI wrapped the case on Friday,
March 23.

Now that the TBI has completed the investigation, the case involving Dustin Hatcher, who resigned as judicial commissioner on Dec. 2, is in the hands of the D.A.’s office.

Flynn has yet to comment as to whether or not he or someone else will prosecute the case or if there will even be a prosecution. Flynn was treating the case as he would any other. "It has been delivered, and it will be reviewed like any other case, and we’ll go from there," Flynn said Tuesday.

According to Jennifer Johnson, spokesperson for the TBI, the agency generally does investigations in these types of cases at the request of district attorneys. The TBI has original jurisdiction over cases involving drugs or corruption.

"Other cases, even murders, we don’t have authority without request of the D.A. We would have to be asked. That’s what happened," she said. "Our role is to go over the allegations and see if there is any evidence to substantiate those."

Johnson said there are a host of reasons why someone asks the TBI to investigate. "We’re called so that there’s no question whether the case was handled independently," she said.

Johnson said she couldn’t get into specific allegations regarding the Hatcher case. "We have completed our investigation and that case file has been turned over to the D.A.," she said.

The investigation started in early December when a Blount County woman and mother of a 17-year-old girl told the sheriff’s office Dustin Hatcher had called her daughter, who had been charged with a juvenile offense in late spring, and asked her to come to his office. According to a suit she and her mother filed in Federal Court on Dec. 15, once she arrived at his office, Hatcher had her pose in lingerie and then took photos of her breasts while she changed out of the lingerie.

On Dec. 2, Dustin Hatcher, son of Circuit Court Clerk Tom Hatcher, tendered his resignation. Sheriff James Berrong conferred with Flynn, and the TBI was contacted to take over the investigation.

In early January, the girl and her mother settled their suit against the county for $45,000. While Tom and Dustin Hatcher
were also defendants, the girl’s attorney Greg Issacs chose not to pursue the action further.

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