YCMTSU New Jersey Secretary Claims Officer Made Death Threat

A fire district secretary in New Jersey has filed suit against the district, a volunteer fire company, a former commissioner, a current commissioner and a deputy chief alleging she has been sexually harassed and had her life threatened, all because she reported the former district official for watching child pornography and masturbating in her office.

The bizarre suit was filed by Deborah Nelson, 53, last week. It names the Board of Commissioners of Franklin Fire District 1, the Millstone Valley Fire Department, former Fire Commissioner Robert R. Scheer Jr., Fire Commissioner James Wickman and Millstone Valley Deputy Chief Douglas Walp as defendants.

The suit is Nelson’s second harassment suit against the district. She filed the first one back in 2009, shortly after former Commissioner Scheer was accused of watching child pornography and other inappropriate conduct. In 2011 as part of a settlement, Scheer resigned and Nelson received a $150,000 settlement .

The second suit was prompted by what Nelson claims is a workplace that continues to be sexually hostile and retaliatory against her. Principal among the specific allegations is a death threat allegedly made by Deputy Chief Douglas Walp in December 2011.

According to myCentralJersey.com, Chief Walp was accused of saying: “The (expletive deleted) better watch her (expletive deleted) or I’ll put a bullet in her head and burn the place down.” Chief Walp was a captain at the time.

Nelson reported Chief Walp’s threats to the Franklin Township Police Department, who investigated and declined to press charges.

More on the story.

UPDATE: Here is another story about the case. It includes a number of additional disturbing details that I won’t go into here – but read them for yourselves.

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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