Oregon Fire Department Sued For $3.5 Million Over Sexual Assault of Junior Firefighter

A junior firefighter who claims to have been sexual assaulted by a firefighter is now suing an Oregon fire department for $3.5 million.

The girl, identified in Benton County Circuit Court filings as Donna Doe, filed suit last Friday against the Monroe Rural Fire Protection District. The suit alleges firefighter Carlos Garcia sexually abused her starting when she was 14. Garcia was supervising the junior firefighter program at the time. Criminal charges have not been filed against Garcia.

The suit claims that the fire department failed to properly investigate the girl’s claims once they were made. It also alleges the fire department failed to comply with Oregon’s mandatory child abuse reporting requirement.

The complaint alleges battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence. In addition to filing suit, Doe’s attorney also sought appointment of a guardian ad litem for Doe. The appointment of a guardian ad litem is common practice for suits brought by under-aged plaintiffs. The guardian is appointed by the court and reports to the court independently from the child’s attorneys to protect the child’s interests in the proceeding. The role of the guardian ad litem is to assist the court by acting “in the child’s best interest”.

More on the story.

Note: The court docket indicates the victim’s name is Donna Doe, but the news report refers to her as Mary Doe. The actual complaint is not available, but will be posted here if it becomes available.

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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