Seven Michigan Firemen Dismissed For Sex On Duty

Seven firefighters who were dismissed from the Summit Township Fire Department had sex while on duty, their termination letters state.

The fired firefighters' personnel files reveal the seven men -- ranging in rank from firefighter to captain -- used the department's firehouses on Ferguson Road and Spring Arbor Road as temporary bedding locations to have sex with assorted women.

According to one of the termination letters, a woman performed a striptease for at least two firefighters in the Ferguson Road firehouse.

The documents, including termination notices, were obtained by the Jackson Citizen Patriot under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

The seven firefighters had accumulated 65 years of service, accolades for their life-saving efforts and community work, and assorted commendations and awards.

But the last documents in their personel files regard their terminations, which they all plan to fight.

Private investigator Dave Curtis, who was hired by township attorney Bob Grover, conducted the investigation, said Lt. Scott Stoker, the union president who was one of the seven fired.

The investigation began when an unnamed former firefighter came forward and claimed the men had engaged in on-duty sex.

The township used testimony from the former firefighter, and at least one other former firefighter, in its decision to dismiss the seven. The documents also state that all seven dismissed firefighters lied under oath about the incidents during the investigation, though one later admitted having sex while on duty.

Capt. Steve Hammond was the first to be dismissed from the department in September, following a 2 1/2-month investigation.

The other six -- Capt. Doug Evert, Lt. Matt Shaw, Stoker; and firefighters Todd Moore, Jim Warner and Larry Witkowski -- were officially terminated last week.

The department cited township policy that prohibits inappropriate conduct on the job as justification for the firings that reduced the number of full-time firefighters to nine.

All seven who were fired deny the allegations and are in the process of filing a grievance seeking reinstatement, said Stoker, president of the Summit firefighter union Local 1639. The grievance process could be drawn out, with resolution unlikely this year.

"All the guys said it did not happen, it's untrue. And that's why we're going to fight it through the grievance procedure," Stoker said.

"In the end, everybody's going to find out what the real truth is. ! Nothing has been proven true. ! Nobody did anything wrong."

Two other firefighters reached either declined to comment or directed questions to Stoker. Repeated efforts to reach the others were unsuccessful.

Township Supervisor James Dunn said he is confident the information about the sexual activity is accurate.

"I don't need to talk any more about the details," Dunn said. "There's not much more for me to say. ! I'm not going to answer any more questions about this."

The seven termination letters outline the sexual activities in which the men are accused of engaging. Six women involved were only identified with initials.

A seventh woman was identified by her initials and as a girlfriend of one of the firefighters. An eighth woman was identified as a firefighter's girlfriend, but her initials were not disclosed.

According to termination letters:

Hammond, 39, was fired for having on-duty sex with a woman between September 2004 and June at the Ferguson Road station and at the woman's home. He also engaged in sex with another woman three years ago, and, weeks later, allowed the woman to perform a striptease in the presence of at least one other firefighter at the Ferguson Road station.

Stoker, 32, was fired for engaging in on-duty sex in 2003 with a woman at an unnamed township fire station. Again, the act was confirmed by a former township firefighter "who was present and participated in the on-duty sexual activity," Stoker's termination letter stated.

Evert, 52, was fired for having on-duty sex with a woman in 2002 and/or 2003 at the Ferguson Road station. Her initials are the same as the woman Stoker was accused of sleeping with.

Moore, 34, was initially suspended Sept. 23 for having sex while on duty in 2002. He initially denied the incident but later admitted it.

It appeared to be a single instance, but the investigation concluded Moore had also engaged in sex with three women at the Spring Arbor station at different times between 2000 and 2002. The accounts were verified by two former township firefighters who participated in the sex, as well as two women involved, according to the termination letter.

Shaw, 31, was dismissed from the department for having sex with his girlfriend and another woman at the Spring Arbor Road station.

Witkowski, 39, was fired for having sex in 2003 at the Spring Arbor Road station with a woman who was apparently his girlfriend.

Warner, 29, was fired for participating in sex with three separate women, starting in 2002 at the Spring Arbor Road station. Two sexual encounters, one in 2002 and another in 2003, were confirmed by a former township firefighter "who was on duty (with Warner) at the time and participated in the sexual activity," Warner's termination letter stated. Another instance of on-duty sex with a fourth woman occurred at the Jackson city fire station on Milwaukee Street, where he was assigned while Summit's Spring Arbor station was under construction.

Because of the allegations that Warner had sex on duty while at a Jackson fire station, Jackson Fire Chief Larry Bosell said he is investigating whether any of his firefighters knew of the alleged sexual activity, or were involved with it.

Preliminary indications are that Jackson firefighters did not know what was going on, he said.

"What we have done up to now is we're going through our daily records and finding out who was where at what time," Bosell said.

"We're going to bring in some of our guys and we're going to ask them if they were aware. ! There might be some discipline, it depends on if they come clean or not."

Still to be determined is how the public reacts to the claims that firefighters were having sex on the job.

The township's next board meeting -- the first since the allegations arose -- will be held Nov. 8.

Bosell said the whole situation is unfortunate for the profession.

"It's become such a large black eye for firefighters in general," he said.

"Most firefighters are actually pretty good people. Every once in a while something like this happens."

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