A bizarre male-on-male sexual harassment claim made by a paramedic against a captain in the Tucson Fire Department has resulted in a $125,000 settlement.
Paramedic firefighter Cody Jenkins claims that he was physically assaulted and harassed three times by Captain Roger Tamietti on November 9, 2012 while working at Station 7. The three incidents were:
- At about 10:00am when Jenkins returned from a run, Tamietti tackled him knocking him onto a couch where he "forcibly humped and ground" against Jenkins while holding him on a couch.
- Jenkins claims after the first incident, he felt dirty and violated so he took a shower. He claims that while walking back to his room wrapped in a towel, Tamietti swatted him on his buttocks.
- The third incident allegedly occurred when Jenkins was working on the computer in Captain Tamietti's office. Jenkins said Tamietti came up behind him and rubbed his groin against the back of Jenkins’ head. When Jenkins pulled his head away Tamietti allegedly pulled it back against his groin.
Jenkins filed a complaint against Captain Tamietti and an investigation was initiated. Tamietti claimed he was merely engaging in “horseplay”, denied committing any lewd acts, and said he was just trying to make Jenkins feel like one of the guys.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, the investigation concluded that:
- “Homophobic and racial slurs [are] used frequently by TFD employees.
- “Tamietti once jumped out of the shower naked and surprised a firefighter. He called the firefighter a "meat-gazer" for looking at him.
- “Tamietti exposed himself to another firefighter for no apparent reason.
- “Tamietti and two other firefighters did a gyrating dance in their underwear two to three inches from a firefighter who was making a salad dressing for dinner.
- “Butt-slapping was common.”
Tamietti was demoted to firefighter for acting “inappropriately”. He is appealing the demotion claiming the penalty is “excessive” and based on exaggerations by Jenkins. He has also been charged criminally with three misdemeanors alleging assault and harassment.
Last February, Jenkins filed a $500,000 civil claim with the city, alleging he "sustained serious and ongoing psychological damages and injuries" and "sustained a loss of earnings and is psychologically unable to go back to work due to his fear of further retaliation."
The claim also alleges Jenkins was bullied and harassed several years ago at Station 7 while on probation. Jenkins claims he was duct-taped to a pole, intentionally tripped by other firemen, and subjected to verbal abuse.
While normally a civil claim is merely a procedural formality necessary before someone can file a lawsuit against a governmental entity, the Tucson city council took up the matter and agreed to compensate Jenkins $125,000
The Arizona Daily Star quoted Councilman Steve Kozachik as saying "These guys need to act like professionals and not adolescents. … It's not summer camp. That childish behavior is costing taxpayers $125,000."