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Former rescue official takes plea in sexual contact case

Mid-Sussex says Jerry Johnson no longer with company
October 17, 2017

A former official with the Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad has pleaded no contest to a charge of third-degree unlawful sexual contact for an incident that happened while he worked at the squad.

In May, a part-time emergency medical technician filed charges against Jerry Johnson, emergency medical services chief of the Long Neck rescue squad, saying Johnson groped her while the two were at the station.

Carl Kanefsky, spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said Johnson accepted the plea  Sept. 26 and was given probation before judgement, a process that places an offender on probation with the possibility that no conviction will be entered if the offender complies with the terms and conditions of probation.

A woman who answered the phone Oct. 2 at Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad said Johnson was no longer with the squad, but she refused to elaborate further. When the caller asked to speak with Raymond Johnson, president of the squad and Jerry Johnson's brother, the woman said she could give no further information at this time, and she hung up.

The Delaware State Auditor's Office is investigating Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad after the Cape Gazette reported in August 2017 that a former member took nearly $95,000 from the squad and wrote another $10,000 in outstanding checks.

Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, was concerned about lack of accountability at the rescue squad and had considered asking the comptroller to look into the squad's financials. However, she said when she heard the auditor is investigating, she will wait to see what the audit reveals before pursuing any further action.

About 10 years ago, state officials investigated the squad after similar financial improprieties surfaced. At the time, Ray Stevens worked for the state Auditor's Office, and he said no one kept a record of the squad's finances. Stevens said he investigated whether a former treasurer had borrowed money and never paid it back. Stevens said he sent a letter to the Attorney General's Office, but there was no proof that Jerry Johnson or Ray Johnson had taken money. Still, Stevens said, he did question the purchase of a brand-new Suburban that Jerry Johnson drove.

The squad's latest financial discrepency is disturbing, Stevens said.

“If they can't handle money, the squad should go into a receivership,” he said. “If this kind of thing keeps happening, someone has to take the bull by the horns.”

John Fluharty of the Auditor's Office said he could not find an audit in the archives. There is no hard copy, but it is possible only a letter was sent to the attorney general.

Carl Kanefsky, spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said he was unable to locate a letter or find an opinion.

“Given the time lapsed and the fact that the DOJ staff who would have been involved in an issue like this are no longer with the department, I have not been able to locate such a letter,” Kanefsky said.

 

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