WASHINGTON – D.C.’s fire department is investigating allegations that D.C. Fire and EMS training academy instructors made inappropriate remarks to female cadets.
At least two female cadets claim their instructors sexually harassed them, ABC7 reports.
But D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Kenneth Ellerbe disputes that what happened was sexual harassment.
“What we believe happened was more some inappropriate language and touching — not of a sexual nature, but the matter made the young ladies uncomfortable,” Ellerbe tells ABC7.
Cadets say the instructors made comments about their body parts.
“We took immediate action to remove those members from the presence of our cadets and continued class,” Ellerbe tells ABC7. “The ladies have asked that we keep this matter confidential and we’ve done our best to do that until this matter is completely resolved.”
In a prepared statement to ABC7, Ellerbe said, “No employee has made an allegation of physical sexual misconduct. There are also no allegations involving shaking behinds or comments about an employee’s breast as reported by ABC7. We take any allegation of inappropriate conduct very seriously. Once a concern was raised immediate action was taken to separate the various parties and to properly investigate the matter. A full and thorough investigation is underway.”
D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells says if he is not satisfied with the fire department’s investigation, he’ll bring the matter before a council committee for further review.