The most ridiculous part of this story is that the city manager of Clearwater, Florida is calling for cameras to monitor the common areas of firehouses to make sure no one else is having sex on duty. Assistant chiefs have been ordered to make more station visits for the same reason. Really? Are Clearwater’s firefighters that unable to keep it in their pants while working that the only answer is to spy on them. Absurd.
In September 2014, then-Lt. Stephen Coward resigned after admitting to having sex with two women inside Fire Station 51, along with watching pornography on his phone while on duty (Click here for that story).
Former fire Chief Jamie Geer was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for sexually abusing a teenager for nearly a decade (Click here for that story).
Now a lieutenant and fire medic are accused of an inappropriate relationship at Fire Station 49 on Sky Harbor Drive, making colleagues feel they were “living with a married couple,” according to an investigation report finalized Jan. 8 by the city’s human resources department.
In August, a CFR driver operator reported a possibly inappropriate relationship between Lt. William Fry and a subordinate, medic Tiffany Seabolt.
The report says Seabolt then sent the driver operator threatening text messages, saying “you need to call me as soon as you get this … you seriously need to stop avoiding me and call me back asap … I have a lot of questions to ask you! … If you don’t call me back, I will be going to human resources about your accusations!”
Seabolt told the assistant chiefs that the driver operator had taken a photo of her while she was in the shower, told her he was in love with her and slapped another medic’s butt with a paddle. An investigation concluded these allegations were unfounded.
The allegations “gave the appearance that (Fry) and FM Seabolt were making counter accusations to deflect the investigation into your inappropriate conduct,” the report says.
After a meeting with the pair on Sept. 4, Fire Chief Robert Weiss told human resources he was aware of the allegations of inappropriate conduct and requested Seabolt and Fry be transferred to other stations.
A discipline report, dated Feb. 18, said there is overwhelming evidence Fry and Seabolt had a relationship, but during a meeting on Jan. 29, Fry took no responsibility for his actions. Fry’s conduct violated the city’s and public’s trust, the report says.
“Your actions have undermined your ability to properly perform your job as a lieutenant and potentially placed your safety, the safety of your crew and the safety of the public in jeopardy,” the report says.
In a separate meeting, Seabolt refused to accept accountability for her actions as well.
The extensive investigation into Fry and Seabolt found the preponderance of evidence overwhelmingly indicates they engaged in an inappropriate, sexual relationship, while on duty. Two shirtless photos were found on Seabolt’s personal electronics, a photo was taken of Seabolt’s car parked at Fry’s home at 12:12 a.m. on a Saturday and human resources obtained a torn up parking pass from the Treasure Island Ocean Club that shows a check out date the day after Seabolt called out sick, according to the report.
The staff described the living environment at Station 49 as “it was like living with a married couple” and “there was stress from them arguing.” Investigators said that Fry violated the trust the City has placed in him as a Fire Lieutenant and his behavior caused a significant disruption within Station 49 and throughout Clearwater Fire Rescue. Fry and Seabolt also caused significant negative publicity generated by their actions and portrayed the City in a bad light, according to the report.
This is the third investigation into alleged sexual misconduct happening by the men in charge of the fire stations in Clearwater since 2012. City Manager Horne said he is going to put measures in place to stop it from happening again.
“We’re looking at putting cameras on the outside of the buildings. Which is a good idea anyway from a homeland security perspective,” he said. “But also cameras inside the building, in the common areas and we have requested that our assistant chiefs conduct recurring visits to the fire stations during their tours of duty, since they cover the city 24-7.”