A Utica fire fighter at the center of a bizarre story turned himself in and was arraigned on three misdemeanor charges Thursday morning in city court. 

Richard Forte is accused of Criminal Mischief (4th degree), Criminal Tampering (3rd degree) and Making a False Written Statement. He pleaded not guilty and is due to return to court in May.

The case involves a female member of the Utica Fire Department who reported that she found semen inside a pair of her pants at the fire station. DNA swabs were requested from male members of the department who were allegedly present at the time of the incident. Forte refused to voluntarily submit a sample and fought the case in court, where a judge ruled he would be compelled to do so.

The incident happened in early January.

In answering the charges in court Thursday, Forte's attorney, Anthony LaFache, noted that his client is a veteran of the Marine Corps and a 16-year UFD member and paramedic who has saved lives in the community. The judge agreed to release Forte on his own recognizance, but instituted a stay away order.

Forte is barred from contacting the complainant in person, via a third party, by phone or social media.