Eleven Atlantic City Firefighters Among Defendants Named in Complaint Alleging Child Sexual Abuse in City Fire Station

Atlantic City, NJ (September 16, 2009) – A civil Complaint that includes allegations of
child sexual abuse, sexual assault and battery, and false imprisonment today was filed on behalf of two Atlantic City minors and their parents against an Atlantic City firefighter, the city Fire Department, Chief Dennis J. Brooks, ten unnamed Fire Station #2 firefighters, and
the City itself.

Attorney Michael F. Barrett, Esq., of Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, PC, of Voorhees, NJ, and Philadelphia, filed the Complaint, which requests a jury trial and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. It is filed on behalf of the two minor girls identified as A.S. and D.N. and their parents.

According to the Complaint, filed in New Jersey Superior Court (Atlantic County), on May 16, 2009, the victims were going shopping about 7:30 p.m. with two other girls and walked by Fire Station #2 at Baltic and Indiana Avenues. The defendant firefighter (named in the Complaint), while standing outside the station with as many as 10 other on-duty firefighters (referred to as John Does 1-10 in the Complaint), solicited the girls to return later that evening with a promise of pizza. About one hour later, the four girls returned. The group of firefighters then left the girls alone with their colleague.

That firefighter told the girls that if they “showed him something,” he would “show them something.” He persuaded one of the girls to expose her chest and he then exposed his genitals. The girl was further persuaded to touch the firefighter’s genitals. The other victim was also persuaded to touch his genitals and then he ejaculated in the presence of the girls. The firefighter then slapped one of the girls on her buttocks.

The Complaint states that as a result of the firefighter’s conduct, the victims
sustained serious permanent injuries including physical injuries, psychiatric trauma and emotional distress, the full extent of which has yet to be determined. They may now and in the future require psychiatric care, medical treatment and/or medications; and they may in the future continue to suffer from psychiatric and emotional anguish and distress as a result of the firefighter’s actions, according to the Complaint.

The Complaint details the non-consensual conduct of the one firefighter and also thenegligence on the part of the other defendants. His fellow Station #2 firefighters, accordingto the Complaint, were aware and/or should have been aware of their co-worker’s actionsbut chose to ignore the situation, being deliberately indifferent to the situation and the risksto the girls of assault, battery and sexual assault. They did not at any point attempt tointervene and/or prevent the firefighter from engaging in sexual misconduct.

The Complaint, notes that within the past year, three Atlantic City Firefighters have been arrested for criminal acts, all involving improper conduct toward minors.

– September 24, 2008, a Firefighter was arrested for allegedly trying to
meet with a 14-year-old girl, whom the firefighter met online, to
engage in sexual activity. The “14 year old girl” was actually an
undercover investigator from the prosecutor’s office.

– October, 2008, a Fire Department Captain was arrested for sexually
assaulting two juvenile girls for more than a year; a grand jury later
indicted the captain on ten charges, including sexual assault and
endangering the welfare of a child.

– March, 2009, a Firefighter was arrested and charged with making
terroristic threats when he allegedly threatened to kill his wife and
minor child.

Chief Brooks and his Department are alleged in the Complaint to have been negligent and through their actions, or inaction, permitted, encouraged, or otherwise facilitated the improper conduct by the city firefighter.

The Count demanding punitive damages notes that the actions of the firefighter were so outrageous they rise to the level of intentional, willful, wanton, and/or reckless conduct, and that all reasonable inferences which can be drawn from the facts, demonstrates reckless indifference to the rights, health, safety and welfare of the victims.

Mr. Barrett’s co-counsel in the case is Mary T. Gidaro, Esq., of SMB.
Michael F. Barrett, Esq. (SMB)
Steph Rosenfeld (for SMB)

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