EMT suspended without pay
GLOVERSVILLE – An emergency medical technician for the Ambulance Service of Fulton County who also works as a city firefighter has been suspended without pay from both jobs after he was charged in January with touching women in a sexual manner while they were being treated in an ambulance.
Donald Frye was charged with two counts of forcible touching in two separate alleged incidents – one in 2011 and the other last year – in which women told police they were touched in a sexual manner while they were patients in an ambulance.
Mayor Dayton King said the Fire Department placed Frye on leave without pay Feb. 7, but because of civil service law, Frye will be put on paid leave starting Monday.
“For 30 days, he was unpaid, and at this point, we certainly want to wait until it’s handled in the court system before we do to much more,” King said.
He said the city “will not be bringing him back once his pay is reinstated.”
City Commissioner of Finance Bruce VanGenderen said Frye’s base biweekly pay is $1,905 and his annual salary at the Fire Department is $49,545.
A secretary for Howard Hime, manager of the Ambulance Service of Fulton County, said Frye has been suspended without pay from the ambulance service since the day he was arrested.
The secretary, who refused to give her name, declined to comment further about Frye.
One of the alleged victims filed a lawsuit last month in state Supreme Court in Johnstown against Frye of Broadalbin and the Ambulance Service of Fulton County, which employs him as a part-time EMT.
The lawsuit alleges Frye sexually assaulted, molested and violated the woman by putting his hands on her body and penetrating her with a finger March 8, 2011, while she was under his care in an ambulance. The lawsuit says all contact occurred without her permission.
She was left with permanent mental and emotional injuries and “has suffered severe emotional, psychological and mental distress and anxiety and will likely suffer from such anxiety and distress for the rest of her life,” the lawsuit says. The lawsuit doesn’t specify an amount the plaintiff is seeking.
The ambulance service is named in the lawsuit for allegedly being negligent by “not making reasonable inquiries” into Frye’s background. The lawsuit says Frye “exhibited a pattern of inappropriate, reckless and dangerous conduct” in his treatment of female patients, but the ambulance service didn’t fire him “immediately upon discovery of such mistreatment,” exposing the plaintiff and other patients to “Donald Frye’s sexual predation.”
Police said they initially investigated an alleged incident involving Frye but did not have enough evidence to pursue charges against Frye until a second incident was reported to police Jan. 17.
Frye was arrested Jan. 30 and released on his own recognizance.
City Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam was unavailable for comment for this story.
The city’s labor attorney, Bryan Goldberger, did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Levi Pascher covers Gloversville news. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.