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This is an update to the November story about an investigation of a possible gang rape by members of Virginia’s Strasburg Fire Department last April with video of the incident shared on Snapchat. News reports say six department members, including Dale King, the 36-year-old chief of the department, have been arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. This is a misdemeanor charge.
As you can imagine, the town of Strasburg which provides equipment, facilities and funding for the fire company now has concerns about oversight (see story at bottom of page).
Shortly after the story broke in November, Chief King told Briahnna Brown of The Northern Virginia Daily the department was cooperating “100 percent” with the investigation. King also said the department would take no actions against any members unless they were charged with a crime. Once charged, the members would be placed on administrative leave. The policy is to wait until a conviction of a serious felony before removal from the department.
“People were really quick about making a judgment, but everybody needs to realize that as of now it’s just allegations,” King continued. “Let’s let the authorities do their job and actually see what the facts are before we jump to conclusions.”
Chief King had no comment for reporters after his arrest.
When the story of an alleged gang rape started to surface and ABC7 was in the small town of Strasburg, Virginia, no one wanted to talk. People were shocked, ashamed and some didn’t want to believe it. Now, Wednesday morning, six firefighters, including the chief and captain of the volunteer fire department, have been charged.
But they were not charged with a sex crime. Instead, they have been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. This is a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
Police have charged 26-year-old Nathan Hirschberg, 24-year-old Andrew Key, 36-year-old Dale King, 21-year-old Bradly Marlin, 32-year-old Christopher Pangle and 25-year-old Fabian Sosa with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The misdemeanor could bring up to 12 months in jail and/or $2,500 in fines.
The investigation dates back to April when a concerned citizen alerted Strasburg’s mayor to the existence of video allegedly showing the “gang rape of a 17-year-old female by members of the Strasburg Fire Department.”
At that point, the case was handed over to Virginia State Police. Original search warrant documents named five firefighters, but Virginia State Police confirmed on Tuesday that a sixth person is facing charges.
The weekend arrests of six members of the Strasburg Volunteer Fire Department on misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor could result in discussions surrounding potential oversight of the department.
In an interview on Tuesday, Strasburg Mayor Rich Orndorff said that potential discussions would likely hinge on the result of the cases.
“I think the discussions would be of what role do we have, what role does the town play, what role should the town play, what role should the county fire and rescue play,” Orndorff said.