Firehouse allegation costs Tucson $125,000

Council settles harassment claim against former Fire Dept. captain
2013-05-08T00:00:00Z 2013-05-08T07:06:16Z Firehouse allegation costs Tucson $125,000Darren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The City Council has agreed to pay $125,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim filed by a former Tucson Fire Department paramedic.

Paramedic firefighter Cody Jenkins filed a $500,000 claim against the city in February, alleging he was "physically and sexually assaulted … multiple times" by former TFD Capt. Roger Sloan Tamietti on Nov. 9.

Jenkins' claim contends Tamietti harassed him on three occasions that day. The first incident occurred when Tamietti "forcibly humped and ground" against Jenkins while holding him against a couch. Later that day, Jenkins said Tamietti swatted him on his buttocks after a shower.

The third incident allegedly occurred in the captain's office. Jenkins said Tamietti rubbed his groin against his head while Jenkins was working on a computer.

Tamietti said he was only "horseplaying" and denied he committed any lewd acts. He said it was common practice for firefighters to joke around with each other as a way to relieve the stress of a demanding job.

But a fire department isn't a frat house, Councilman Steve Kozachik said. And taxpayer money shouldn't be squandered as a result of sophomoric high jinks.

"These guys need to act like professionals and not adolescents," Kozachik said. "It's not summer camp. That childish behavior is costing taxpayers $125,000."

TFD officials determined Tamietti's behavior was "inappropriate" and demoted him to paramedic. The city also filed three misdemeanor charges against Tamietti.

Tamietti is currently in the process of appealing his demotion, saying the punishment was excessive and the some of the testimony was a "lie or greatly exaggerated."

Jenkins' claim says he "sustained serious and ongoing psychological damages and injuries" related to the Nov. 9 incident and was seeing a psychologist.

It also stated Jenkins has "sustained a loss of earnings and is psychologically unable to go back to work due to his fear of further retaliation."

Jenkins no longer works for TFD. He resigned in late April.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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