1 firefighter in sex scandal reinstated Review of other cases in Annapolis possible

December 10, 1991|By Peter Hermann

An Annapolis firefighter, fired after being accused of having sex on duty, was reinstated yesterday when the city attorney learned that a Fire Department investigator on the case once had sex with the woman described as "central to the allegations."

Firefighter Robert "Tommy" Thomas, 36, will receive back pay from Nov. 21, when he was fired along with two other firefighters. Mr. Thomas, a 15-year veteran of the department, was accused of lying when he denied that he had sex with an Annapolis woman four or five years ago, once in the back of an ambulance.

City Attorney Jonathan A. Hodgson insisted that the entire investigation has not been compromised because of the investigator's involvement with the woman. Two police officers and two firefighters admitted to on-duty sexual activity, he said.

But critics said it proves the 11-week probe, which implicated a total of five firefighters and two police officers in a sex scandal, was flawed from the start.

"This is one of the most unprofessional and unjust investigations that I have seen in my life," said Lt. John Morgan, firefighters' union president. "I am glad part of it's over."

Fire Chief Edward P. Sherlock Jr. said the investigator, a city firefighter whom he declined to name, once had sex with the woman four or five years ago while off-duty.

He said the investigator told him Sunday night about his involvement with the woman, whom Chief Sherlock called "central to these allegations."

Mr. Hodgson said cases in which firefighters denied having sex on the job could be reviewed based on the new information.

Lt. Kenny Rowe, who was fired after denying his involvement, has filed an appeal with the civil service board. Lt. Eden Avery, who allegedly admitted his involvement and was suspended, also is appealing the ruling. Battalion Chief James Jones, who city officials say knew about the misconduct but did nothing about it, retired from the department before his dismissal could take effect.

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