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.
  • mr618

    In your original story on this case, you referenced a similar case from New Jersey. Most media decline to identify victims of sex crimes, especially if they’re minors, yet in this case (the Jersey incident), she victim was publically identified. Did the news stories identify her because her parents released her name, or because they simply did not care?

  • mr618

    I gather your programs on Social Media and FLSA are received quite well, but there seems to be a crying need for another: Keep It Zipped 101. The text would be fairly simple:
    1. If she’s under age, she’s off limits
    2. if she’s over the age of consent, she’s off limits
    3. If you’re married, or engaged, or dating, or even single, she’s off limits
    4. If she’s married, or engaged, or dating, or even single, she’s off limits
    5. If you’re dating someone else, she’s off limits
    6. If you are her officer, she’s off limits
    7. If you are her senior co-worker, she’s off limits
    8. If you are on different squads, she’s off limits
    9. If you’re on the same squad, she’s off limits
    10. if you’re on the same department, she’s off limits
    11. if you wouldn’t want to see your story splashed all over the media, she’s off limits.
    You could even make this one available to our brothers in blue… they seem to have a hard time keeping it zipped, too.
    “Keep It Zipped… So That Everyone Goes Home… Cause Jail Sucks!”


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