Pennsylvania Fire Department and PD Embroiled in Junior Firefighter Sex Scandal

A 63 page complaint has been filed in Federal Court in Pennsylvania alleging that three firefighters, two of whom are also police officers, had inappropriate sexual relationships with a 15 year old junior firefighter.

The suit, filed under the name of Jane Doe, alleges that Old Forge Fire Chief Lawrence A. Semenza, 48, firefighter James Krenitsky, 34 and firefighter Walter Chiavacci, 47, engaged in various sexual activities with the victim between 2004 and 2007. All three men are also facing criminal charges in connection with the allegations.

Chief Semenza is also the police chief in Old Forge and Krenitsky is a police captain. The suit alleges that the men used their positions as both firefighters and police officers to take advantage of the junior firefighter.

The suit was filed on Friday, November 9, 2012 and also names the Borough of Old Forge, the Old Forge Police Department and the Old Forge Fire Department. The suit alleges violations of Doe’s due process rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by Semenza, Krenitsky and Chiavacci; § 1983 claims against the municipal entities for failure to promulgate policies to prevent the misconduct, failure to supervise, and failure to train; and tort actions for negligence, assault, battery, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Attorneys for Chief Semenza and Captain Krenitsky insist their clients have been wrongly accused. Attorney Jason Mattioli, representing Captain Krenitsky, said “As it’s been from day one, 100 percent innocent… it’s all about money.”  Chief Semenza’s attorney David J. Solfanelli added “We’re not surprised to see a lawsuit.”

Here is a copy of the suit. Complaint

More on the story.

If the story sounds familiar, we had another one from New Jersey earlier this 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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