NY firefighter charged after submitting DNA sample in harassment case

Richard Forte faces several charges after a female firefighter "found ejaculate on an extra pair of her pants" upon returning from a call

By Jolene Cleaver

UTICA, N.Y. — A Utica firefighter pleaded not guilty Thursday to three misdemeanor charges stemming from a Jan. 6 incident in which he allegedly harassed a female co-worker.

The defendant, Richard Forte, was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, offering a false written statement and third-degree criminal tampering. He surrendered to police Thursday morning prior to arraignment in Utica City Court.

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara previously said the case involved a female firefighter who "found ejaculate on an extra pair of her pants" after returning from going out on a call with the department. He said the pants were cargo pants the female firefighter purchased independently as a substitute for department-issued pants that did not fit her as well, and were kept in a private room of the station house that she uses when she works a 24-hour shift.

The substance found on them tested positive for semen, McNamara said.

Forte was later court-ordered to submit a DNA sample for analysis, but McNamara declined Thursday to comment on the results of the DNA test.

"His not guilty plea should speak for itself," said Forte's attorney Anthony LaFache, after Thursday's proceeding.

Forte was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to return to court May 21 for a pre-trial conference.

A stay-away order was put in place for the victim while the case is pending.

Copyright 2018 Observer-Dispatch


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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