DC firefighter speaks out about sexual harassment
She kept quiet until she saw a recent investigation centering on two young female cadets who accused two instructors of sexual harassment
WASHINGTON — A female D.C. firefighter is breaking her silence to speak up for young female cadets at the DC Fire and EMS Training Academy, alleging sexual harassment.
WJLA.com reported that the firefighter, who requested anonymity, said she received a warning from a female academy employee after joining a recruit class a few years ago about some of the male instructors.
“She just said, ‘be careful, because a lot of them, they don’t know their boundaries,” she said.
One instructor commented, “Guess who wore the wrong bra today,” and later got her alone and moved his hand from her shoulder slowly down to the top of her backside, according to the report.
“And then as the hand like went lower to like you know here, I was just like, ‘Um, yeah please don’t ever touch me. Like, that’s hugely inappropriate,’” she said.
Two young female cadets came to her for advice after experiencing similar sexual harassment remarks, according to the article.
“You know, they’re babies. And, so for them to speak to them like that and you know, just make any sort of sexual comments toward them is just disgusting,” she said.
The fire department reassigned the two instructors to positions outside the academy and launched an internal investigation, according to the report. However, WJLA.com reported that D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe insisted the alleged harassment was “not” sexual in nature.
“What we believe happened was more some inappropriate language and touching, not of a sexual nature, but the matter made the young ladies uncomfortable,” Chief Ellerbe said.
A fire department spokesperson declined comment about the status of the latest alleged harassment investigation, according to the report. The department has provided additional training for staff to address concerns regarding the inappropriate conduct and a female instructor has been placed to train cadets at the academy, according to WJLA.com.