Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Volunteer charged with indecent liberties
Last month, I was called by two concerned county residents who had heard that a 17-year-old female volunteer might have been hazed by other volunteers at the county’s new fire and rescue station in the Courthouse area.
At that time, I was informed that the Sheriff’s Office was investigating the matter.
Today, a 20-year-old volunteer was charged with a Class 6 felony as a result of the investigation.
Steven Tyler Perry, of Spotsylvania County, has been charged with one count of custodial indecent liberties. A second suspect, a 17-year-old male volunteer, has not been charged because prosecutors are hoping to use him as a witness in the criminal trial, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office.
A total of nine volunteers were terminated from the Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department.
Similar problems plagued Stafford County’s combined system of volunteers and paid personnel in the early 2000′s, and resulted in the Board of Supervisors hiring Ron Brown as chief of the entire combined system.
County Administrator Doug Barnes said today that it is a “no brainer” that the county’s combined system needs to move toward having one person in charge of the entire system. He also revealed some other changes that are brewing, most of which come from the two separate internal and independent reviews of a fatal fire on Feb. 5 on Spotswood Furnace Road that claimed the life of Sandy Hill.
Mr. Barnes is forming a plan of action that he will release to an expanded Fire and Rescue Commission at its July 14 meeting.
In a story likely for Saturday’s paper, Barnes talks about some of the changes that might take place as the combined system attempts to move forward from the painful exercise of examining that fatal fire, and now trying to bring accountability to the three volunteer agencies that are not completely comfortable with having such strict regulations put on them because of the fear it might scare current and potentially new members from volunteering.