Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Fired NASCAR Driver Sues Sheriff for Wrongful Arrest

Former NASCAR driver, Adam Hilton, filed a federal lawsuit last week as a result of his arrest, and the failed prosecution against him. The case stems from what he contends were clearly false allegations against him. In addition to suing the sheriff and a few deputies, Hilton has also named his stepdaughter's biological father as a defendant, and as the mastermind of a criminal plot against him.

The criminal charges brought against Hilton are every stepparent's worst nightmare. According to the lawsuit, Hilton alleges that the biological father, Harold Bellm, bribed his own teenage daughter with cash, birth control, marijuana, and even getting out of discipline, in order to make false sexual abuse accusations against Hilton. As for the Sheriff's part in this drama, Hilton is claiming that poor training and supervision allowed the investigation and prosecution to move forward against him, despite his stepdaughter's story clearly being fabricated.

Details of the Case

Hilton was acquitted in June 2016, nearly two years after the initial accusations were made. However, as a result of the charges, his life was upended. In addition to the public scorn and humiliation he suffered for being accused of sexually assaulting his own stepchild, he was fired from his job as a NASCAR driver. As such, Hilton is seeking damages for his losses, as well as punitive damages.

Bellm and his ex-wife, whom Hilton married, had gone through contested child custody battles, which appears to be the underlying motive. It is further alleged that Bellm, who is a race promoter, has a questionable history of engaging in morally suspect criminal activity. Additionally, it was reported that Bellm was arrested in 2015 for failing to abide by a restraining order to stay away from his ex-, and Hilton's current, wife.

Hilton case alleges that investigators should have dug deeper into the allegations after his stepdaughter changed her story multiple times, and furthermore some of the false accusations contained logistical impossibilities. For example, one of the alleged abuse incidents supposedly took place in a barn that had not been built at the time when the alleged abuse occurred. Similarly, another incident allegedly occurred at a new residence before Hilton and his wife, the victim's mother, had moved into the home.

Related Resources: