Utica Fire Official Accused of Lurid Activity with Possible Recruit
WIBX's First News with Keeler in the Morning shared details of what some believe was inappropriate communication and conduct between an unnamed Utica Fire Department official and a young male who was attempting to get hired by the department.
Three sources told WIBX that the 23-year-old male recruit was subjected to sexual text messages and invitations, as well as encounters at one of Utica's fire houses to engage in the viewing of pornographic movies such as "Girls Gone Wild." The text messages provided to WIBX also show that the fire official allegedly asked the male candidate to wear a certain type of underwear (briefs) when he visited, as well as comments that suggested that the pair and possibly others (including males and females) would masturbate before bed time.
The City of of Utica issued a statement on Tuesday stating that disciplinary action had been taken. Palmieri says the Utica Police Department conducted a full investigation into the allegations and determined that no criminal conduct took place.He says as a result of the investigation, the City administered discipline to one member of the UFD.
Listen to Keeler's breakdown of the charge from Tuesday morning's show:
Sources tell WIBX that the encounters occurred at the Fire officials private residence and at one of the city's fire houses. The victim's family members also told WIBX that the young man, who is 23 years of age, participated because he looked up to the older individual and felt he was going to soon become a Utica Firefighter.
A source told WIBX that the male recruit had scored well on the fire exam. "He took the Civil Service exam and scored an 85. He is a certified NYS EMT. He passed the CPAT (candidate physical ability test) in January. The UPD conducted a background check on him and his name was on a "certified" list to be hired for the last Fire Academy class that is currently still in session. That list went from Civil Service to the Mayor back in March 2018. The Fire Academy started April 2, 2018," he said.
There's also a question of whether or not some of the communications between the two were conducted on city owned cell phones. In the screenshot of one of the text messages from the official to the young recruit, the official asks him to call on a '534' cell phone line, described as a "D/C line" when he arrived. It was later learned that the phone number is used exclusively by the Deputy Chief on duty at that time.
WIBX has chosen not to reveal the fire official's name at this time, and will continue to keep the male recruit and his family anonymous. "However, based on the information we have been provided, I don't know how this story can be over and done," said WIBX's Bill Keeler who says additional coverage will continue on his morning program on Wednesday morning. "There's much more to this story that needs to come out especially in this age of the #MeToo movement," he added.