Jury Clears PA Fire Company in Sexual Assault of Junior

A jury has found that a Pennsylvania volunteer fire company is not liable to a former junior firefighter for sexual assaults that allegedly occurred between 2004 and 2007. The federal court jury also found that Old Forge Borough and two former police officers were not liable to the 23-year old victim identified only as Jane Doe.

The jury did find that former Old Forge firefighter Walter Chiavacci was liable to Doe for $20,000. Doe filed suit in 2012 accusing Old Forge Fire Chief Lawrence A. Semenza, 48, firefighter James Krenitsky, 34 and firefighter Chiavacci, 47, of engaging in various sexual activities with the victim between 2004 and 2007, when she was a junior firefighter.

Chief Semenza also served as the police chief in Old Forge and Krenitsky was a police captain. According to WNEP, all three men served jail time over their involvement in the case.

Here was the original Fire Law story on the suit, including Jane Doe’s complaint.

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.

Check Also

Fairfax County Fire Rescue Releases Latest Report on Gender Allegations

Fairfax County has released its report on the allegations made by Battalion Chief Kathleen Stanley, who resigned her position as Women's Program Officer in January. Chief Stanley accused the department of tolerating and defending sexual harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment.

Sex Scandals – It’s Not Just US

Sometimes it is good to know that it is not just US. Of course, who we define as "US" is sometimes a tricky matter. Sometimes "US" is the fire service in general, so when there is a YCMTSU case involving the police, it reminds us that it's not just us firefighters.