Fire chief accused of sex with female junior firefighter

Police said it started with text messages to the 16-year-old and developed into telling her to come over to his house

NEW FLORENCE, Pa. — An assistant fire chief has been suspended amid criminal charges that he had a sexual relationship with a female junior firefighter.

WTAE reported that Chief Kenny Steiner, 56, with the New Florence (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Department, is facing several charges stemming from the investigation that started in 2013. Police said he sent text messages to a 16-year-old who had applied to be a junior firefighter.

Police said the alleged sexual encounters began in September 2013. The victim reportedly told police Steiner would tell her to come over his house and they would engage in sexual activities either inside his house or in the camper in his front yard, according to the report.

Investigators were made aware of the allegations after one of the victim's friends told a school guidance counselor. Police said it took time to file charges because of logistical issues.

No one answered the door at Steiner's home Wednesday afternoon. He is awaiting a preliminary hearing. Fire officials declined to comment on-camera, but released the following statement on the department’s Facebook page:

"On Oct. 6, 2015 the Officers of the New Florence Volunteer Fire Company learned of charges filed against Assistant Chief Kenneth E. Steiner for alleged crimes of a sexual nature. Tuesday evening at a meeting of administrative and line officers, Assistant Chief Steiner was suspended from duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation and the disposition of criminal charges."

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