Settlement in New Jersey Sexual Misconduct Case

A sexual misconduct allegation involving a minor female firefighter in New Jersey that prompted three separate lawsuits has been settled… in part.

Two of three suits filed by John and Patricia Newton, parents of Jordan Newton, against Greenwich Township, the Greenwich Township Fire Department, and several ranking officers have been settled for $123,000.

The suits allege that former Fire Chief Wade MacFarland and former Assistant Chief Charles Reinhart engaged in inappropriate sexual relationships with Jordan, and that she was later sexually harassed and mistreated by the fire department. Her parents also claim that when they tried to raise concerns about what occurred, neither the department nor the township did anything to investigate or discipline those involved.

Left intact is a lawsuit against Charles Reinhart that alleges that he “forced [Jordan], against her will, to engage in sexual intercourse with him and forced her to perform fellatio upon him.”

Both of the settled suits were originally filed in Superior Court in Cumberland County, New Jersey, and removed to Federal Court. The settlement includes a confidentiality agreement and a provision stating the settlement shall not be construed as an admission of liability.

Among the other terms of the settlement that the fire department agreed to were:

  • To increase the minimum age of its junior program to 18 years old;
  • Improvements in its disciplinary policy and enforcement;
  • Adoption of a sexual harassment policy and training for all members.

Here is a copy of the two complaints and the settlement agreement. GreenwichNewton

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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