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Registered sex offender/firefighter accused of groping fire victim. Woman says it happened after fire outside her Fairfield County, SC home.

WIS-TV is reporting that a Fairfield County, South Carolina volunteer firefighter, who is a registered sex offender, has been jailed on charges of groping a legally blind woman whose fence caught fire on Saturday. The TV station reports the sexual assault occurred when Ralph Marthers brought a fire report to the woman's home.

From WIS-TV:

"I laid the report on the table," said the victim. "He proceeded to put his hand down my shirt and pinched my left breast. I slapped his hand away, then he proceeded to put his hand up my gown, from the bottom and I slapped his hand away again."

"I looked over and he had his private parts in his hand… and I told him no and I used a few choice words and told him he better get out of my house before I shoot him."

Reporter Jody Barr asked the chief of the Community Volunteer Fire Department if officials knew that Marthers was on the state's sex offender registry after a 1997 conviction of committing a lewd act on a minor. The chief didn't comment on that. Marthers, 51, has been on the department for about 25 years. He was suspended after Monday's arrest.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    This is an absolute disgusting slap in the face against all the Good and Decent Firefighters who everyday work to maintain the Trust and respect of the taxpayers. The first and most important issue at hand is (1) Why,how,when,who, was this individual allowed membership in what is probably a well Respected and Honorable established VFD. (2) wasnot any type of thorough back ground investigation done? He has 25 years as a member of this VFD. The stereo type of Career vs. Volunteer isnot, and doesnot apply here. There are no turf issues. This individual is by any standard not even a good wanna be. He is without any doubt a most worthless do nothing weasel. The Local VFD in question is faced with an apparent lack of Professional Standards in first Investgating anyone who applies for membership. This cannot and must not be Tolerated. There are Legal and Social  Agencies, with Law Enforcement support and direct involvement.  At the very least this VFD must now reach out to the Public and work to regain their Trust and Respect. This was an Adult victim. What would be the public outcry if this were an innocent child vicitm? One can only hope the Legal System of Judicial Authority will come down on this individual like a Ton of Bricks. One can only hope the Court will impose a condition upon this filthy dirty scumbag that he never again associate himself with any Public Safety Fire/EMS Organization.
    Thank You
     
     

  • ukfbbuff

    Anonymous sums this issue up very well.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Seriously?? You let a registered sex offender into your department?! Another black eye to the fire service courtesy of the Volunteers. Way to go fellas, you keep finding amazing ways to make us proud.

  • no 1 sttater fan in va

    Statter, these stories are very, very disturbing. is it time for legislation to address this behavior? These dudes are sick. time for this type of behavior to cease.

    • mark

      NO 1, legislation won't solve the problem. We have laws against murder and rape and drunk driving, etc, etc, etc and all those laws are broken regularly.
       
      The chief or someone in charge needs to get over their rectal cranial inversion and get rid of idiots like this when they are convicted or previously on the list.
       
      Happened not too long ago by me, some guy was a FF and a township employee with a conviction for some sex offense, was still on the dept and was doing fire prevention classes in schools. Yet every single person that works at a school must be fingerprinted, but the fire chief knowingly allowed this idiot to be employed.

  • fireboots

    Hate to say it but with that length of time as a member, he was most likely a member when it happend the first time and he was allowed to stay under the good ol boy system. Which if true is even worse.
     

  • Sharppointy1

    Disgusting story.  But my esteem for firefighters as a whole is not tarnished by one very bad seed.
    There are lousy child molesting sub humans in every profession and we don't judge the profession by the aberrant ones.
    fireboots has a disturbing take on it, though.  if his speculation is true, that's dreadful.

  • Dickey

    He had already been on the department for 11 years before the conviction 14 years ago. We have to do periodic background checks on our people and they are required to notify department administration of any criminal charges or convictions. Apparently the continued background checks were not complete and he didn't notify the department.
    Judging by the Chief's reaction if he knew he was a sex offender, he totally knew about him and they covered it up.

  • chiefbobr

    This disgusting story is a perfect example of why all departments – career or volunteer – need to conduct thorough a background check before accpeting anyone as a member of the department. The only real way to deal with an issue like this is to prevent it from ever happening in the first place.

  • AnonymousNOVAEngineDriver

    she should've shot his a$$.  hopefully the DA will nail him to the wall, what a piece of crap.

  • Dickey

    This happened after he was already on the department  for 11 years prior to becoming a registered sex offender as the report says.
     
    This is not an issue of doing background checks PRIOR to employment, its about ongoing periodic checks.

  • Anonymous

    Would it not have been vital to the VFD and the citizens of this community if this individual did register as a convicted sex offender? One would tend to believe if so, the VFD would have been notified which wouldhave/couldhave/shouldhave immediately started a rejection of this pervert for membership. As was stated one can only believe the Chief and probably others within the VFD knew of his criminal past and chose to ignore the Truth and Facts. What is the absolute most repulsive issue in this situation, he made a pass/advances against a Woman who is Legally Blind, and on the scene after the Fire. One can only believe the entire VFD is located within a Rural possibly an unincorporated area where the Rule of Law is not always adhered to by everyone. Specifically the Public Safety Fire and EMS Organization. The Chief and members of this VFD should be Ashamed of themselves for allowing membership, and letting his disgusting pattern of Behavior to continue. One cannot even begin to imagine what this worthless Dirt Bag would have done if this poor Woman was Unconscious inside her Residence and no one saw him advance upon her. Come on People get it together now. we all live in a civilized society. Everyone is protected under the Rule of Law.
     
    Thank You