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Union: Philly firefighters face discipline in sex probe

The union boss says the sex was consensual and off duty; reports of sex in the firehouse are unsubstantiated


By Sean Carlin
The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Seven Philadelphia Fire Department employees face discipline after an investigation into sex between male firefighters and a female paramedic, the firefighters union announced Friday.

Union president Joseph Schulle said at a news conference that of those members listed in the report by the Inspector General’s Office, four are alleged to have had sex with the paramedic, including one inside a firehouse. The three others face charges that include sexual harassment tied to inappropriate behavior at work, he said. The discipline stems from a complaint filed last year by the paramedic.

Those recommended for discipline by the city oversight agency include two battalion chiefs, two firefighters, a captain and a lieutenant, Schulle said.

Schulle said the paramedic was “coerced” into filing a complaint.

“She was told that if she did not file a complaint, she would be required to sign a document stating nothing inappropriate had occurred during her career in the department,” he said.

The union has only seen what it describes as a “heavily redacted” copy of the agency’s investigative report and called on the city to release the full report.

“There is no legitimate reason why they won’t provide us with the full report,” Schulle said.

The inspector general declined to comment.

Schulle said the sexual relationships were consensual and off-duty and disputed the claim that an employee had sex in the firehouse. He said the department has elected to charge one member with having sex inside a firehouse, though the inspector general’s report said allegations of sex in the firehouse could not be substantiated.

Schulle refused to provide a copy of the report the union received to the media.

Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer has not commented on the probe.