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A month ago, Orlando Fire Department Chief Rod Williams was cleared of sexual harassment charges made by an assistant chief. The complaint against the chief claimed, “FC Williams repeatedly rubbed, hugged and pressed his body up against mine” and made sexual comments. Now, WFTV-TV reports there are new, anonymous, complaints against Chief Williams brought to the city by a lawyer.
The City of Orlando, in a statement, is concerned about that anonymity:
Today, we received a letter from an attorney, which contained two anonymous complaints regarding the Orlando Fire Department. Anonymous complaints severely limit the City’s ability to investigate and take action, if warranted.
The City of Orlando takes the complaint against the Orlando Fire Department seriously. We remain committed to ensuring everyone who works for the Orlando Fire Department and for the City of Orlando is treated with dignity and respect at all times.
In the letter, she claimed Williams made comments like “girl you are built just how I like” and said she’d been approached by superiors in an “effort to keep (her) quiet.”
Another woman claimed the chief also made inappropriate comments to her when no one was within earshot.
She claims an unnamed deputy chief also made similar comments, writing in her letter, “I want the inappropriate behavior to stop.”
The allegations came after an assistant fire chief filed a complaint saying Williams told her, “You’re so beautiful. You are so sexy and I wish you weren’t married.”
The city conducted an investigation and cleared Williams, but an EEOC complaint is still pending.
The chief received some backlash after that initial comment. The city’s chief administrative officer, Byron Brooks, sent a letter to all firefighters asking that the attack on the chief stop.
Attorney James Spears wrote that the women were concerned about coming forward after the email from Brooks.