According to the victim, an EMS instructor, Patrick Hutchison, discouraged her from pursuing the matter. Hutchison even took it upon himself and contacted the perpetrator, attempting to resolve the matter privately rather than through a formal investigation. In her official statement the victim gave to IFD's command staff, she said she wanted no contact with the firefighter who sexually assaulted her. In a July 23 e-mail, Hutchison admits telling the perpetrator that the victim felt violated and distressed and that he needed to "acknowledge and ask forgiveness." EMS told WRTV that none of its employee policies were violated because the incident didn't occur on EMS property or involve the actions of an on-duty employee. IFD's new chief, Ernest Malone, issued a statement supporting his department's handling of the investigation, saying it initiated an investigation as soon as it was reported to the department:
"On the day that IFD was contacted, I can't speak to what happened before that, the day IFD was contacted, the complainant was contacted and a meeting was scheduled. On the day the information was received by the chief's office, it was reviewed and a decision was made to take the very serious action of turning it over to the Special Investigation Unit," Malone said.According to WRTV, IMPD did not interview the victim until today. The firefighter was placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is being concluded. It sounds like some folks at EMS and IFD need to be put on leave and consideration given to whether they are fit to be employed by the City. It's this kind of mishandling of personnel matters that wind up costing taxpayers huge payouts required to settle lawsuits. Everyone in the chain-of-command who failed to act in a timely and appropriate manner should be disciplined, if not terminated. Malone's claim that the department acted as soon as it learned of the complaint doesn't explain how a firefighter could leave his job for hours on the day of the alleged sexual assault and not be held to account for his absence from work. Let's see whether our crack Public Safety Director is up to his job.