CROSSVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A former Cumberland County Solid Waste Director has been convicted on 9 counts of civil rights violations related to the kidnapping and sexual assault of women he supervised, according to information from the United States Attorney’s Office.

Michael Harvel, 61, of Crossville, Tennessee, was convicted Dec. 15, following an eight-day trial. He now faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“The defendant abused his power as a public official in order to sexually assault women under his supervision at a county facility,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Civil Rights Division.

The trial included testimony from 13 women about Harvel’s abuse while he was employed as the Director of Solid Waste for Cumberland County. The women were either serving court-ordered community service or working as paid employees. Evidence from the trial showed that Harvel was each victim’s supervisor.

Harvel was found guilty of four counts of kidnapping and sexually assaulting the women whom he supervised. He was also convicted on three counts of aggravated sexual abuse, “including one for forcibly raping a woman in an office at a county facility” according to the Attorney’s Office. Finally, he was found guilty of charges related to incidents in which “he fondled the breasts and genitals of women against their will.”

“The defendant raped and assaulted women who were in extremely vulnerable positions,” said U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin. “Those in positions of authority cannot abuse their positions with impunity, and we look forward to seeking a prison sentence for Mr. Harvel that reflects the seriousness of this offense. I commend the victims, investigators, and the prosecution team for holding Mr. Harvel accountable for his crimes and for obtaining justice in this matter.”

In July 2021, Harvel was indicted on 4 civil rights violations. A few months later, in November, a superseding indictment charged him with additional civil rights violations that occurred between 2014 and 2018.

“The FBI Memphis Field Office is proud of the role that it played in bringing this man to justice and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to remove those whose criminal acts result in targeting individuals in extremely vulnerable positions,” said Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski of the FBI Memphis Field Office. “The FBI will always work to bring to justice those who violate the civil rights of others.”

His sentencing date has not yet been set. This case was investigated by the FBI.

In 2021, the Department of Justice settled a civil sexual harassment lawsuit against Cumberland County for $1.1 million. The lawsuit alleged that Cumberland County failed to take adequate precautions to prevent Harvel from sexually harassing women he supervised.