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Las Vegas mayor ‘shocked’ at claims of firehouse sex

Updated September 22, 2017 - 8:41 pm

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said Friday she was “shocked” at another round of allegations of sex in a city firehouse because the issue was “very clearly addressed” earlier this year.

Months after claims of sexual misconduct, city officials are investigating allegations that a firefighter violated department policy in August by having sex at a fire station.

Goodman said she met with the city manager and city attorney, and had discussions with fire department brass and the union after allegations of sex inside a city firehouse surfaced in the spring.

“We very clearly addressed the policies, the procedures, so this wouldn’t recur,” she said. “I don’t know whether a ball dropped or what happened. If true, it’s a serious matter and it will be appropriately handled. My hope is there’s no merit to it.”

A document obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal outlines the allegations and says some fire department supervisors tried to cover up the alleged tryst by discouraging the whistleblower from taking the issue further.

In April, former Las Vegas Fire Capt. Richard Loughry was charged with having sex with a 15-year-old prostitute inside Station 47. He later resigned from the department, and faces eight felony charges.

City officials on Wednesday confirmed an ongoing investigation amid inquiries from the Review-Journal about an Aug. 21 incident at Fire Station 9 in northwest Las Vegas. A fellow firefighter made the allegations.

The firefighter accused in the document denied he violated any policy. Repeated calls by a Review-Journal reporter to the whistleblower have gone unanswered. Eric Littmann, president of Las Vegas Firefighters Local 1285, also declined to comment.

Las Vegas city councilmembers said they were briefed about the allegations on Tuesday. Councilwoman Michele Fiore said on Friday she has doubts about the allegations.

“I don’t find the source credible,” Fiore said. “I know our city firefighters. I don’t want the public judging our fabulous city firefighters through the media — nothing has been resolved.”

The firefighter wrote in the document that when he tried to report the alleged sexual activity to superiors, one fire captain told him to “shut the f—- up.”

“I did what we have been instructed to do, but now I am being threatened by captains and being portrayed as the problem,” the whistleblower wrote in the document. “The entire situation is proof of the culture that exists. If you report these types of issues, you will be bullied, intimidated and threatened.”

The firefighter wrote that he walked up to a closed curtain in the dorm and called out the name of the other firefighter, then realized there was also a woman in the room. He reported what “sounded like kissing,” the firefighter wrote.

Later, he encountered the couple in the TV room with the lights out. The woman and her daughter, who also spent time at the station, had dinner with the crew, the firefighter wrote in the document.

A week earlier, the whistleblower said, the firefighter had told him “the other night we had sex in the TV room.”

City Communications Director David Riggleman said this week the Fire Department, the city’s human resources department and the city manager’s office investigating the whistleblower’s claims. An unauthorized visit to the fire station would violate Fire Department policy, regardless of whether sex was involved, Riggleman said.

Zero tolerance

After Loughry’s arrest Las Vegas Fire Chief William McDonald announced plans to install surveillance cameras and limit visitation at the department’s 20 stations.

“Misconduct of any kind is not tolerated,” McDonald said at the May 4 news conference. “There is zero tolerance in Las Vegas Fire and Rescue for this kind of behavior. We all take the allegations very seriously, and I promise you that each allegation we receive will be thoroughly investigated.”

Claims of a cover-up will be part of the city’s probe into the newest claims.

Las Vegas City Manager Scott Adams on Friday characterized the ongoing investigation as thorough, in-depth and somewhat complicated.

“I will say as the new city manager — I’ve been city manager about 60 days — I will reiterate that I have zero tolerance for that kind of behavior in our fire department,” Adams said. “I don’t have all the facts yet, but when we do, we’ll take the appropriate action.”

Contact Jamie Munks at jmunks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter. Reporters Jeff German and David Ferrara contributed to this story.

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