Judge dismisses former Texas firefighter's sexual harassment claims

The former firefighter said in a lawsuit that two supervisors raped her, a coworker slapped her backside and another firefighter masturbated in front of her

Kaley Johnson
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Fort Worth district judge dismissed most of the claims a former Fort Worth firefighter made in a lawsuit, in which she said she was sexually harassed and assaulted by fellow firefighters from 2013 to 2018.

The suit was dismissed with prejudice, and the Northern District of Texas judge said in his memorandum opinion that the firefighter, referred to as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, did not provide facts to back up the allegations.

Doe said in the suit that two supervisors raped her, a coworker slapped her on the backside in front of her young daughter, and another firefighter masturbated in front of her several times.

The suit accused the fire department, five firefighters and the city of Fort Worth of sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

The defendants listed by name were former interim Fire Department chief Kenneth Stevens and five current Fort Worth firefighters: Capt. Fred Jandrucko, Capt. Bob Lomerson, Battalion Chief Kelley Gutierrez, Lt. Dustin Lindop and firefighter Bryan Burch.

No criminal charges were filed against those involved in the lawsuit.

Senior District Judge John McBryde dismissed Doe’s claims against Fort Worth, Stevens and four of the firefighters. In his memorandum opinion, McBryde said Doe made broad conclusory allegations that she did not not show through facts. Her accusations against Jandrucko and Burch were also beyond the statute of limitations.

Attorney B.C. Cornish represented Jandrucko and Burch, who had all claims dismissed against them. In a news release, she called Doe’s lawsuit “scurrilous allegations against several outstanding FW firefighters.”

“Because of the way Jane Doe and her lawyers handled this case, if you Google the names of Mr. Jandrucko or Mr. Burch, it looks like they are predators. Horrible words are associated with the names,” Cornish said in the release.

Lindop did not file to have all claims dismissed against him, and McBryde ruled Doe could refile her claims against him if she chose, but she must identify herself instead of going by a pseudonym. He said Doe does not qualify for “rare and exceptional” cases that allow someone to file a lawsuit anonymously.

In the suit, Doe said that Lindop, who was Doe’s supervisor, masturbated in front of her in the station’s gym several times.

In December 2017, Doe had a seizure while driving her car off-duty and was in a wreck. In July 2018, Doe was forced into early medical retirement and denied her full pension, she said in the suit.

McBryde said Doe could refile her claims against Lindop only in relation to the December 2017 event.


©2020 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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