Firefighter ordered to give DNA sample in sexual harassment case

Firefighter Richard Forte was ordered to give the sample after a female firefighter found ejaculate on her extra pair of pants that she uses for 24-hour shifts


By Jolene Cleaver
Observer-Dispatch

UTICA, N.Y. — During a roughly minute-long Friday court appearance, Oneida County Court Judge Michael Dwyer ordered Utica firefighter Richard Forte to provide a DNA sample.

This in answer to an order requesting the sample submitted during a Tuesday court proceeding.

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said previously "a female (firefighter) went out on a call, and when she returned she found ejaculate on an extra pair of her pants" that she keeps in a private room of the station house she uses when she works a 24-hour shift.

Court papers confirm the substance lab tested positive for semen. The pants were cargo pants the female firefighter purchased independently as a substitution for department-issued pants that did not fit her as well.

As of Friday, no charges had been filed in the case. Court records also note that if charges were to be lodged, the offense would amount to misdemeanor fourth-degree criminal mischief.

Forte is scheduled to return to court next Thursday. That day, a swab will be taken for the test.

"(But) he has a week to ask a higher court to stop it," Assistant District Attorney Dawn Lupi said outside the courtroom.

"I'll be making an application to stay the order," said Forte's attorney Anthony LaFache. The move will be made Monday or Tuesday, he said.

LaFache also said he disagrees with Dwyer's Friday order on a number of issues, including the lack of probable cause regarding his client's link to the alleged act, and also to the characterization of the severity of the action.

In a copy of the Friday written order granting the DNA swab be obtained from Forte, obtained by the Observer-Dispatch, Dwyer wrote, "The mere fact that the crime is a misdemeanor does not mean it is not serious."

"It is, of course, less serious than a felony or other misdemeanors which may involve personal injury or greater economic loss."

Copyright 2018 Observer-Dispatch

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