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Stuart Fla--Firefighter Resigns after Sexual Harassment Charge

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  • Stuart Fla--Firefighter Resigns after Sexual Harassment Charge

    Fireman resigns after alleged harassment
    In latest incident, firefighter allegedly told female minor crude sexual jokes

    By Gabriel Margasak staff writer
    October 4, 2003

    STUART — A controversial Martin County firefighter has resigned in connection with a county investigation that he told sexually explicit jokes to a female minor working in a fire station as part of the Fire Rescue Explorers youth program, fire officials said Friday.

    The firefighter, David Womble, 29, already had been reprimanded in May for calling a juvenile performing community service at a fire station a "little convict."

    That case spawned a civil lawsuit by the juvenile against Womble and Martin County Fire Rescue, and included rumors of laxative-tainted brownies and Viagra-spiked ice cream at Palm City Station 21 in 2002.

    The latest case involved a Sept. 13 incident in which the female minor accused Womble of making sexual jokes to her.

    "Mr. Womble did not deny making the alleged comments," according to a Sept. 23 county memo on the incident. "His comments included jokes of sexual content, which he claimed to be his way of 'breaking the ice.'" County Human Resources director Linda Skelton, who authored the memo, stated Womble violated the county standards of conduct, including a rule stating "sexually oriented verbal kidding or joking represents a form of sexual harassment."

    Fire Rescue Chief Tom Billington said Womble resigned about two weeks ago.

    "Obviously right when we were notified that he told a couple of off color jokes to an Explorer, we started the investigation, and he resigned while we were doing that."

    Billington said if the results of the investigation were made official before he resigned, Womble would have been terminated.

    "That type of behavior, it's inexcusable," Billington said.

    Asked about the county memo, Womble, who was hired in November 1998, said Friday, "I haven't seen that at all. I'm not saying a damn thing."

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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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