Florida Fire Battalion Chief Charged with Molesting Girl

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (AP) -- A battalion fire chief was charged with molesting a 15-year-old girl, and his arrest came days after he threatened to kill himself, authorities said.

Pasco County fire battalion chief Doug Drape, 42, was arrested Saturday on felony charges of capital sexual battery, sexual battery, and lewd and lascivious molestation.

Drape, a battalion chief since 1996, was accused of molesting the girl since she was 11 years old, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. He showed the girl pornographic magazines, and later had sex with her, an arrest report said.

Authorities said Drape called his wife Tuesday and told her he wanted to kill himself. From another phone line, Drape's wife called Fire Chief Anthony Lopinto for help while trying to keep her husband on the phone.

Lopinto and Assistant Chief James Higgins rushed to Drape's house in Odessa, where they found him with his hand on a loaded, .45-caliber handgun.

Drape's gun was taken away and was taken into protective custody under the state's Baker Act.

The report of that incident has parts marked out, but it quotes Drape saying, ``I've ruined everyone's life around me anyway,'' and he was ``embarrassed about what was going on.''

Drape was treated at the Harbor Behavioral Health Care Institute until his arrest Saturday. He was being held at the county jail in Land O'Lakes on $175,000 bail.

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