May 1—Auburn Fire Lt. Adam P. LaFlash, while working as a call firefighter for the Sturbridge Fire Department, is accused of assaulting a female dispatcher, police said.
Lt. LaFlash, 36, of 26 Woodside Circle, Sturbridge, pleaded not guilty Monday in Dudley District Court to three counts of incident assault and battery on a person 14 or older and two counts of assault and battery.
A judge ordered Lt. LaFlash released on $200 bail and ordered him to stay away from the dispatcher. The case was continued to June 10.
Auburn Fire Chief Stephen Coleman Jr. said Lt. LaFlash had been placed on paid administrative leave.
"We are aware of the allegations against one of our members that occurred in the Town of Sturbridge while working secondary employment with the Sturbridge Fire Department," Chief Coleman said in a statement. "The employee has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of court proceedings as well as our own internal investigation on the matter."
Sturbridge Town Administrator Jeffrey K. Bridges Jr. said Lt. LaFlash has been suspended from his part-time position with the town. He was paid solely for shifts he worked, and had been working for the department just under three years, the administrator said.
Sturbridge Police Officer Sean Paine investigated a report by a civilian dispatcher of unwanted touching Sunday morning, the police report said. The dispatcher, accompanied, came in for an interview.
She said Lt. Laflash went to a motor vehicle accident, took a patient to Harrington Hospital in Southbridge, and returned to the public safety complex at 1 a.m. Sunday.
Lt. LaFlash entered the dispatch center, where he allegedly pulled her chair close to him and began kissing and groping her, she alleged.
The dispatcher told him, "No, please let go, and stop," the report said. She told police she was unable to push him away.
She alleged Lt. LaFlash did not let go of her until a call came over the radio from the duty crew. But after she responded to the call, he allegedly took her arms and pulled her toward him again, despite her objections.
He allegedly told her she would like what he was going to do, and pulled her arm with such force she said she thought it was going to fall off.
The dispatcher told police Lt. LaFlash left the dispatch center when he heard an ambulance returning to headquarters, about 2:45 a.m.
The dispatcher added that Lt. LaFlash had exhibited a pattern of behavior she did not welcome or encourage, including sending her messages she considered requests for sex, the report said.
She said that they had been texting last year, but she had grown uncomfortable with the nature of his messages and so she blocked his number from her phone.
She said he continued to send her messages on Facebook, to which she responded. She said he sent messages indicating he wanted to come to her house, or that his wife was not home.
Later, the dispatcher said, she unblocked Lt. LaFlash's number after he returned from the call and told her to keep the phone close in case he had questions for her concerning his report.
Lt. LaFlash denied the allegations during a police interview. He said the kissing and contact was consensual, and said the woman had even shown him areas of the dispatch center where they would be out of view of security cameras. He told police he and the dispatcher had kissed in the past, the report said.
Police applied for a warrant to search Lt. LaFlash's cellphone for evidence, and they confiscated his license to carry a firearm.