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Las Vegas firefighter claims co-workers shared explicit video

Updated November 1, 2018 - 8:03 pm

A sexually explicit video of a Las Vegas firefighter was circulated among her co-workers without her knowledge, according to a human resources complaint obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The woman learned in June that her colleagues had the video, according to the complaint. She said in the complaint that the video was sent last year to her ex-boyfriend, a Henderson firefighter.

“I want the individuals who are a part of this scandal to be held accountable for their wrongdoings and also for the emotional and mental distress this situation has caused me,” the woman wrote in her complaint. “I want to be able to go to work and not feel like everyone I work with is thinking of me in a sexual way, but more as a respected co-worker that I really am.”

The Review-Journal is not naming the woman because of the nature of her complaint.

The woman’s attorney, Jenny Foley, said the city placed her client on unpaid leave in August while her claims are investigated. Las Vegas city spokesman David Riggleman confirmed that the city is investigating, but would say no more because it is a “personnel matter with pending litigation.”

Foley sent the city attorney’s office a letter in September threatening a lawsuit and directing the fire department to preserve all documentation of her client’s hiring, her employment and the investigation.

The letter also names 17 current and former city employees — including Fire Chief William McDonald, former Deputy Fire Chief Ray Kessler and Assistant Fire Chiefs Jon Stevenson and Sarah McCrea — as people who should save their personal communications because they will either be sued or called as witnesses.

“There’s a level of trust that you have to have when you work in a first responder environment, and when that trust is broken everyone suffers,” Foley said.

Shared video

The explicit video was shared among Las Vegas Fire Department employees as early as June 4 during an EMS training event, according to the complaint.

The woman learned about the video days later, when a male firefighter told her that he overheard other employees talking about it. The ex-boyfriend told the woman he did not have the video or send it to anybody, the complaint states.

Fire Battalion Chief James Suarez told the woman in September that some employees were disciplined, but that nothing illegal had occurred and it would take time for the incident “to blow over,” according to the complaint.

Four days later, the woman filed a complaint with the city’s human resources department.

“I no longer feel comfortable at work,” she wrote.

Latest misconduct allegation

This complaint is the latest accusation of sexual misconduct to tarnish the Fire Department.

In December city officials disciplined multiple employees after an investigation into sex at a fire station and subsequent cover-up. Details of how many employees were punished were kept secret.

That investigation followed sexual misconduct claims earlier in the year by former Las Vegas emergency medical technician Mallissa Barthule. Barthule said she’d had sex in 13 fire stations since 2008.

And last year, Capt. Richard Odell Loughry was jailed for allegedly having sex at a fire station with a prostitute who was younger than 14. A criminal trial is scheduled for February.

McDonald declined an interview request but released a statement saying the department “remains one of the top fire departments in the world.”

“The vast majority of our personnel are stellar employees, however, like all organizations, there are a few who choose not to follow policy,” McDonald wrote. “In these instances a full investigation is conducted and the appropriate discipline applied when necessary. This includes termination, as has been demonstrated when the outcome of the investigation warrants it.”

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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