2 Philly firefighters punished in sex scandal with medic

The two waived a departmental hearing on the allegations against them and chose instead to accept punishment

The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — Two Philadelphia Fire Department employees have accepted an undisclosed punishment in connection with a sexual harrassment scandal that has roiled the department, officials said Tuesday.

The two employees, whose names and ranks were not released, waived a departmental hearing on the allegations against them and chose instead to accept punishment, Frank Keel, a spokesman for the firefighters union, said in a statement.

They are among seven — two battalion chiefs, a captain, a lieutenant, a fire service paramedic, and two firefighters — who faced discipline for their interactions with a female paramedic who filed a sexual harrassment complaint against the department last year.

Four of the employees were charged with failure to supervise; three, including one of the battalion chiefs, were charged with unbecoming conduct; and one department worker was charged with having sex in a firehouse.

The remaining workers were charged with sexual harrassment that union president Joe Schulle has described as "inappropriate behavior while at work, but not sexual interaction" with the paramedic.

Keel's release did not detail the charges against the two who waived their hearings Tuesday. Nor did it describe their punishment.

Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Mayor Nutter's spokesman, Mark McDonald, said the administration would have no comment on the disciplinary actions.

Earlier this year, the city's Inspector General's office completed a report on the allegations against 15 fire department members, recommending discipline for seven.

That report - spurred by an employment discrimination complaint made by the paramedic in May 2014 - has not been made public.

Sources familiar with the woman's account have said she has alleged she was pressured into having sex with colleagues.

The report concluded that there was "insufficient evidence to determine whether she was exposed to unwelcome sexual conduct," but that her time with the department had involved "sexual advances and acts of a sexual nature."

"It is also fairly clear that this sexual conduct interfered with her and others' work performance and likely created an 'offensive work environment,' " the report read.

Copyright 2015 The Philadelphia Inquirer
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