WV Firefighter Sentenced to 14 Years for Firehouse Sexual Assault

A former West Virginia firefighter who forcibly raped a 16-year-old female in a firehouse in January 2021, has been sentenced to fourteen years in prison. Christopher Lee Osborne, 26, pled guilty earlier this year on federal civil rights violation charges.

Osborne was a firefighter with the Charleston Fire Department, and a part-time police officer with the Marmet Police Department. He was also a firefighter with the Danville Fire Department, where the assault took place.

Quoting from a press release issue by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia:

  • Osborne previously admitted that on or about Jan. 19, 2021, while he was an officer with the Marmet Police Department in Marmet, West Virginia, and a firefighter with both the Charleston Fire Department in Charleston, West Virginia, and the Danville Volunteer Fire Department, he used his position, authority, and status as a firefighter to forcibly sexually assault the victim.
  • Specifically, Osborne admitted that the victim told him that she did not want to have sex, but he held her down and sexually assaulted her anyway, causing her pain and injury.
  • “The significant sentence imposed illustrates our strong commitment to prosecuting individuals who use their official authority to commit violent sexual assaults against minors,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa G. Johnston for the Southern District of West Virginia.
  • “Osborne’s unlawful conduct constitutes a clear deprivation of the minor’s civil rights. I commend the minor victim for the courage and strength she has demonstrated throughout this case. I thank the FBI, the West Virginia State Police and the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office for their outstanding efforts.”
  • “Mr. Osborne’s actions were inexcusable and appalling,” said Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall of the FBI Pittsburgh Field Division.
  • “The FBI will not stand by when people in positions of trust violate their oath and victimize innocent young children. Mr. Osborne abused his power and today’s sentence sends the message that we will continue to work to hold accountable public servants who fail the citizens of their community.”

Here is the press release.

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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