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  • Disgrace

    Firefighter accused of sex crimes
    Sept. 6, 2006

    By Tom Wyatt / Post-Tribune staff writer



    A South Haven Volunteer Fire Department captain has been jailed for an alleged series of sex crimes investigators are calling some of the most heinous they have encountered.

    Michael T. Parsons, 37, of the 700 block of Acadia Road in South Haven, is accused of victimizing a teenage girl on numerous occasions, dating back to when the girl was 10, police said.

    Parsons is being held at Porter County Jail without bond, facing felony charges of rape, child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor, criminal confinement and child exploitation, police said.

    “This is one of the worst cases I’ve ever personally been involved with,” Porter County Sheriff’s Detective Cpl. Jeff Biggs said.

    Biggs said the case was “just unbelievable.”

    Police confiscated several items Parsons is believed to have used to abuse and torture the girl, including including handcuffs and a wooden restraint device Parsons constructed.

    The victim told police that Parsons on numerous occasions performed acts of bondage on her, using elaborate torture devices to restrain her. The girl told police Parsons abused her perhaps more than 50 times since she was 10.

    Parsons admitted to police his involvement in the abuse. Biggs, however, said Parsons tried to downplay the incident.

    “From speaking with him, he doesn’t seem to understand that what he did was wrong,” Biggs said. “He didn’t show a lot of remorse for it. It’s almost as if he thought the contact between himself and this young child was mutual.”

    Parsons told police he gave the victim drugs and alcohol and photographed her during the abusive acts.

    South Haven Volunteer Fire Department Chief Douglas Patton suspended Parsons and said Tuesday he removed all items from the firehouse with Parsons’ name on them.

    A shocked Patton said he and Parsons have been friends for 16 years.

    “I didn’t see this one,” Patton said. “The entire department is upset over this. We learn to trust each other down here. This behavior is not tolerated.

    “This guy was more than one of my firemen. He was very close to being one of my family. I’m very hurt. I wish I could have done something about this and seen it and stopped it.”

    Police were first contacted Friday afternoon after the girl told friends of the abuse. The friends told their mother, who then contacted Portage school officials.

    Parsons was arrested late Friday afternoon when Biggs obtained a warrant and officers surrounded Parsons’ house. Police said Parsons refused to answer the door, instead calling “acquaintances” and telling them he didn’t want to return to jail. Biggs said Parsons also called the Sheriff’s Department to ask why police were at his house.

    About an hour later, Biggs spoke with Parsons by telephone and convinced Parsons to surrender.

    Parsons was arrested on two previous occasions, once in September 1999 and again in June 2000, both times for invasion of privacy, Porter County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Emmons said.

    Parsons, a steel worker at U.S. Steel Gary Works, had been a member of the South Haven Volunteer Fire Department for about six years before leaving for personal reasons. He returned in March 2005 and was promoted to captain earlier this year, Patton said.

    Patton said he was unaware Parsons had been arrested twice before and took responsibility for not administering the usual background check submitted for new volunteers.

    “I’ve got a feeling we dropped the ball on this one,” Patton said. “With any new applicant, we do a background check with the police. Mike came in under the radar, being that he was a former member.

    “I learned a lesson the hard way on that one. ... We’re supposed to be a safe haven for kids. I’m extremely angry and upset, both as a fire chief and as a friend (of Parsons’).”

    In 1998, Parsons unsuccessfully ran in the primary as a Democrat for the Portage Township Board.

    Emmons said police do not believe there were any other victims, though the investigation is ongoing. Emmons also said investigators believe Parsons acted alone in the committing the crimes.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  • #2
    This man was a member of my department and a close friend for over 15 years
    I can not express the amount of anger and betrayal I feel at the moment. I will reply with more later,once the investigation is complete.


    http://nwitimes.com/articles/2006/09...e0007540ce.txt

    http://cbs2chicago.com/video/[email protected]
    [FONT=Times New Roman]Douglas R. Patton
    IACOJ
    "Omnis Cedo Domus"
    I am now a former Chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone.
    Isaiah 6:8

    Comment


    • #3
      Chief, I truly feel for you. I can only imagine the amount of betrayal you experienced.
      IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

      Comment


      • #4
        Whats new?

        As someone(well more than one ) has said on the Steve Irwin thread "Crikey, I bet that hurt"

        At least Steve had the animal's welfare at heart--and yes he earnt a bomb doing it--and as has been quoted by another source=

        "Find a job doing what you love to do -and would do it for free-then get paid for doing it--Magic"

        This lowlife just by associating with the Brotherhood leaves a foul taste, as a retired paid/career fireman I am utterly p#ssed off by this kind of thing.

        If this seems a bit garbled --I am sorry but I think you know how I and thousands of fellow Firefighters feel about this---sick,mate, bloody sick

        Comment


        • #5
          http://nwitimes.com/articles/2006/09...e200005e1f.txt

          http://www.post-trib.com/cgi-bin/pto...1_news_02.html
          [FONT=Times New Roman]Douglas R. Patton
          IACOJ
          "Omnis Cedo Domus"
          I am now a former Chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone.
          Isaiah 6:8

          Comment


          • #6
            Chief, I do not envy you your position on this.
            If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

            "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

            "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

            Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

            impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

            IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

            Comment


            • #7
              ....Parsons first strapped her naked to a restraint device in the garage and placed his firefighter's mask over her face, covering the front glass with tape and placing a sock in the breathing receptacle, according to Biggs. She was then sexually abused.
              If true...this is one sick individual. I can't imagine anyone more vulnerable than a ten year old girl... What a black eye for firefighters...who children should be able to trust.

              NJ
              Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
              Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

              *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
              On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Alright before I go into Rant Mode, let me just say that I'm just as angry and appalled at this mans behavior as the rest of you.

                Now - in reality who's fault is it that this has become a "black eye" for the fire service ?? - THE PRESS !!!

                Now I know that firefighters are in a position of trust & authority and should be held to higher standards and all the age old arguments (and I agree with those beliefs to by the way) but WHY did the press write this as their main lead in

                A South Haven Volunteer Fire Department captain has been jailed for an alleged series of sex crimes investigators are calling some of the most heinous they have encountered.
                and then WAY down at the bottom of the story they barely even mention his occupation as if it were a side thought.
                Parsons, a steel worker at U.S. Steel Gary Works
                why didn't the lead in read like this
                Michael T. Parsons, A 37 year old steel worker at U.S. Steel Gary Works has been jailed for an alleged series of sex crimes investigators are calling some of the most heinous they have encountered.
                Because it doesn't sell as many papers !!! The general public won't get their undies in a knot if it didn't? Did the FD provide him with the opportunity to commit these acts on this poor girl? Article didn't say but I get the feeling it didn't or they WOULD have said it. Would catching his prior arrest in a FD background check and disallowing him membership in the FD have prevented this? Probably not since no one had a clue it was going on anyway. So why drag the FD into it to begin with?
                Because it sells.

                My deepest sympathies to the girl & her family, as well as to the members of the SHVFD. I'm sorry any of you had to go through what you are going through.

                And I have faith the the justice & penal systems will give Mr. Parsons his due. But I must give a big "Shame on you" to the press for besmirching the SHVFD and the fire service in general just because it sells papers. BOO - HISS.
                Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
                Stephen
                FF/Paramedic
                Instructor

                Comment


                • #9
                  Now I am not afraid to admit I lean a bit more on the conservative side than most. All I have to ask is this to the liberals that "lurk" in here......
                  What would you like to see done? This dirt bad deserves no mercy, no easy ride, no nothing.

                  There was a guy in my state (also a firefighter) that was arrested and convicted of similar crimes. (Over a period of 4 years) The whacko judge gave him a 3 month sentance. Even, some that lean towards taking it easy were a little taken back. It was later increased to 6 years after much outrage was expressed. But, what made matters worse? His friend was doing the same thing to the girl!!!
                  I knew the original offender, took many classes with him, even worked along side him at calls. Had I known then what he was doing...well lets just say he may have been on the receiving end of a haligan...

                  To sum it up, life in prison, 3 hots and a cot, no extras, no TV, radio, maybe if he is good a book or two....but, then again because of the ACLU they keep molesters like this out of general population in prisons, due to the fact most inmates HATE sex offenders of this caliber...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    N2Dfire -

                    I think it comes down to the trust people have in the fire department. Wasn't there a poll a year or so ago that rated firefighter as the most trusted profession there is?? Now, if "steel worker" had been rated the most trusted profession there is, then I'm sure the first line of the story would have read like you suggest.

                    The fact is, there are certain professions that require more trust from the public than others... priests (who hear personal information about their parishioners), doctors (who see their patients naked), police (who enter homes, handcuff people, and carry weapons), teachers (who spend so much time each week influencing young minds), and firefighters (who enter homes, care for people's children in emergencies, remove valuable posessions from homes on fire, and cut people's clothes off at trauma scenes), to name a few. So a "bad egg" in any of these fields is a big story.

                    It's horrible when anyone preys on someone vulnerable. I don't blame the press for mentioning the volunteer firefighting before the steel working in this case - the community (hopefully) felt a trust and dependence on the fire department more so than on the steel works.

                    What the man did had nothing to do with the fire department, of course - but in a way, I think it is relevant.
                    -------;- "Aaaaa!!"
                    Remember - always wear your helmet around one-eyed women with pike poles

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by baileydonk
                      N2Dfire -

                      I think it comes down to the trust people have in the fire department. Wasn't there a poll a year or so ago that rated firefighter as the most trusted profession there is??
                      There was actually a poll about a month or so ago that rated fire service as the mose prestigious occupation.
                      Tom Warshaw
                      Station 13 (Bethel)
                      Sumter Fire Department

                      "Scientists believe that the world is composed mainly of hydrogen because in their opinion, it is the most abundant element. I however, feel the earth is composed mainly of stupidity, because it is more abundant than hydrogen." - Frank Zappa

                      September 11, 2001. We Must Never Forget.

                      In memory of Thomas Sabella, L-13, FDNY


                      All opinions stated are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my department or any organization I may belong to.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        baileydonk -
                        I hear what your saying and I agree 110% that people in a position of trust should be held to higher standards (even said so in my first post but I did so kind of fast) however - my main gripe here is that said position of trust should NOT be made an issue of in the press UNLESS it somehow contributed to the crime(s).

                        Now I will admit (again ) that the initial story didn't say if this was the case or not, however I feel that if this guy had singled out this girl from doing fire safety talks in school or if he was abusing explorers or in some other way was able to use the "position of trust" to commit these acts then the paper would have mentioned that too.

                        If that were the case then I have no problem with the reporting of him as a firefighter - otherwise it has no bearing on what happened and surves no purpose but to increase the "shock value" of the story & in turn to besmirch the name of firefighters everywhere.

                        What if the story had read "Former Gulf War Hero jailed for an alleged series of sex crimes investigators are calling some of the most heinous they have encountered. " The fact that the accused was a war hero would have no bearing on what happened - it's only purpose is to sensationalize the story.

                        All I'm saying is why go dragging the SHVFD's image and that of firefighters everywhere through the mud when it has no real bearing on the situation.
                        Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
                        Stephen
                        FF/Paramedic
                        Instructor

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          N2Dfire -

                          Yes, it's all about shock value - the "oh, my gosh" factor of the story.

                          What upsets me much more than up front information that he was a firefighter, are the fairly graphic descriptions of what he [allegedly] did. Stating that he is charged with "rape, child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor, criminal confinement and child exploitation" is quite enough - all the details of what he did to the girl are unnecessary and just there for shock value, in my opinion.

                          But free enterprise is one of the founding principles of our society, is it not? It's all about money and selling newspapers. Not the most noble cause, but it's how this stuff works. Go figure.
                          -------;- "Aaaaa!!"
                          Remember - always wear your helmet around one-eyed women with pike poles

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well gentlemen, I was fired tonight for refusing to say "no Comment" at the press release.
                            [FONT=Times New Roman]Douglas R. Patton
                            IACOJ
                            "Omnis Cedo Domus"
                            I am now a former Chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone.
                            Isaiah 6:8

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Cheif are you serious? How could this happen? please keep us posted.

                              Comment

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