Michigan Firefighter Pleads Guilty In Junior Firefighter Sex Case

One of two Michigan firefighters accused of having sex with a junior firefighter pled guilty today to felony charges related to nude photos of the girl.

Clem Harold Bell, 51, formerly with the Cascade Township Fire Department, pled guilty to promoting child sexually abusive activity, using a computer to commit a crime, and possession of child sexually abusive material. All three charges are felonies.

Bell and Steven Drake, 32, reportedly had sexual relations with a sixteen-year-old female who was part of the department’s Explorer program. The girl also shared nude photos of herself with Bell and Drake. Because the age of consent in Michigan is sixteen, neither man was charged with sexual assault. However, the sharing of nude photos of children under the age of 18 is illegal.

In exchange for Bell’s plea, the prosecutor has agreed to recommend he serve no more than one year in county jail and five years of probation. The judge in the case, Kent County Circuit Court Judge Mark Trusock, will sentence Bell on June 15. He is not bound by the plea agreement. Drake will be in court next week.

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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