Friday, August 15, 2014

Paramedic Reports Sexual Assault By Indianapolis Firefighter, Department Waits Weeks To Investigate

WRTV has a shocking story of the botched handling of an alleged sexual assault by the Indianapolis Fire Department involving one of its own employees. An EMS paramedic says she accepted a ride home from a concert downtown on June 27 from an Indianapolis firefighter, who was reportedly on duty at the time, after she had too much to drink. She says she awakened hours later in her apartment to discover the married firefighter performing a sex act on her. When she told him to stop, he did. Three days later she reported the incident to her shift commander when she returned to work and asked to be reassigned to a different shift. Incredibly, IFD investigators did not bother to take a statement from her until more than three weeks later on July 22.

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.


Anonymous said...

I thought Frank Straub created a GeStraubo, to investigate such allegations! Weren't supervisors ordered to refer such matters to The GeStraubo instead of interfering with the investigation????

What will Riggs say about this? Will the IFD personnel have any action taken for violation of Herr Straub's GeStraubo's authority????

What does 416 have to say?

This will be a good story if we had a journalist in Indy.

Anonymous said...

IFD has far too much fluff and allows overtime where none should be paid.

Why does an entire ladder truck or engine get paid overtime to be at Fire Dept Instructor's Conference because their apparatus is out-of-service for training????

Why did a Private on the IFD make 6-figures last year? Was he SuperFireman who had such special training that he was the only private qualified to work overtime?

IFD needs a culture change post haste.

The city needs a Mayor change post haste.

Frank Straub used to call the FBI to investigate things they had no authority to investigate. Why hasn't Ballard enforced the GeStraubo's exclusive authority over IFD in these matters?

No organization would allow such to have occurred without severe disciplinary action against all who were aware and failed to report to proper authorities. This is sexual harassment gone nuclear.

Anonymous said...

No IEMS employee involved was either on duty, nor representing IEMS at any point. Hutchinson knew both victim and assailant and made a poor personal decision to attempt to intervene. However, he was also neither on duty, nor representing his employer. IFD has long had a practice of "get away time", wherein FF's on duty leave their assigned station/apparatus/assignment at the authorization of the company officer or Batt. Chief. They go to run personal errands, watch/coach kids play ball, or whatever else they see fit. The fact this FF was on-duty at the time and left his assignment should be looked at closely.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:12 has a point.

There is a lack of both accountability and supervision in EMS & IFD.

The EMS rationalization is cause for termination of that superior who knew and handled it improperly.

The IFD matter needs a culture change...and a new Fire Chief!

Anonymous said...

If she felt assured she should have gone to the police... Not IFD. I question this "guys" judgement in having an alledged victim meet her alledged attacker. Sometime yes means yes. He's a terrible attacker he stopped when she asked. Her words.

Anonymous said...

After re-reading 8:12 I realized the difference between IMPD, IFD and IEMS. IMPD and IFD personnel are considered on-duty 24/7 and are held accounted for when errors in judgement are caught. (Granted: caught). I guess the non-for profit Health and Hospital ambulance people are not.

Anonymous said...

Patrick Hutchison must be fired! What a dereliction of duty!!!

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon. 10:00 said, "Sometime yes means yes. He's a terrible attacker he stopped when she asked. Her words."

Glenn Murphy, Jr. stopped when his victim awoke and asked him to stop under very similar circumstances. He still went to prison for sexual assault.

Anonymous said...

While they are investigating IFD they should look into the female firefighter who committed suicide earlier this month after being harassed while on the job by her male co-workers

Anonymous said...

You mean 54's on the A shift? You know HQ- knew and well you know what they did.... Nothing