West Virginia Chief Facing Sexual Harassment Allegations

A very strange sexual harassment suit brought by the wife of a career firefighter in Grafton, West Virginia accuses the city’s fire chief of numerous sexual improprieties. And that’s not even the strange part!

Lynsey Mumaw, wife of firefighter Shane Mumaw, accuses Grafton Fire Chief John Casey Jones of numerous sexually inappropriate actions. Mumaw herself was a volunteer firefighter for the Grafton Volunteer Fire Department until she was dismissed by Chief Jones on June 12, 2012.

Among the allegations that she has made against Chief Jones are that he:

  • Routinely referred to himself as the “F%$^ing Boss of the Fire Department”  or “FB of the FD” for short;
  • Commented “that he liked to feel [Mumaw’s] breasts against him” after giving her a hug (he is alleged to have regularly given her hugs);
  • When ever Mumaw’s 17 year old daughter “indlcated she needed to leave to use the restroom, and Fire Chief John Casey Jones was around, he would ask if she needed help”;
  • Told Mumaw’s husband “If your wife would just give it up to me, you may be lieutenant a little quicker”;
  • When Mumaw was considering getting baptized he told her: “girls like you don’t deserve to be baptized because then people like me can’t get in their pants”;
  • Told Mumaw “Always remember who signs your husband’s paycheck”;
  • In the presence of her daughter, Chief Jones “grabbed Lynsey Mumaw by her head and started bobbing her head up and down towards his genitals, as in a simulated act of fellatio”;

The suit also alleges the city failed to properly investigate Mumaw’s allegations when they were originally disclosed.

The complaint was filed in state court last February. At the city’s request, the case was removed to federal court in March. It is back in the news again because earlier this month the US District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia remanded it back to state court following a finding that no federal issues were implicated.

If all of this is perhaps a little bit much process, you may want to sit down before reading further. According to the complaint Mumaw is a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. YCMTSU.

The 20 page complaint explains the allegations in nauseating detail. It contains eight counts, including sexual harassment, mental or emotional injury, intentional infliction of severe emotional distress, negligent infliction of severe emotional distress, negligent failure to investigate, religious harassment, battery, and hostile work environment sexual harassment. For the Legal Eagles out there… here's the shocker… an employment discrimination complaint filed on behalf of a plaintiff who is a paraplegic… that does not allege an ADA violation…. YCMTSU – Lawyers Edition.

Here is a copy of the complaint.  Complaint.pl

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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