NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Five Ellis County volunteer firefighters are charged with sexually assaulting a man. According to court documents, the incident happened inside the department building last January, but the victim didn’t come forward until March 31.
The firefighters, Blake Tucker, Casey Stafford, Preston Peyrot, Keith Wisakowsky, and Alec Miller who is a former officer of the year, are accused of holding down the victim, pulling down his pants, and first assaulting him with a broomstick, then a chorizo sausage.
Brittany Parten, who court records show lives with Wisakowsky, is accused of recording the incident on her cell phone. Investigators say the video shows the male volunteer firefighters laughing and yelling with excitement.
Court documents say after the suspects released the victim, he went to the bathroom and threw up.
After showering, investigators say the men stole the victim’s clothing and towel, forcing him to go outside naked to get shorts from his car.
No word if the victim is also a member of the volunteer fire department.
Richard Brillhart, a 25-year volunteer firefighter in Ellis County and the suspect’s co-worker, put it bluntly. “Today’s generation does a lot of stupid things. If what is claimed happened — it was a very stupid thing.”
While leaving jail Tuesday, Tucker declined comment about the first-degree felony charge he faces. Parten didn’t say anything either as she tried to shield herself from reporters’ questions.
Ellis County resident Susie Smith heard about the charges. “If that’s so, it’s just horrible, it’s just sickening,” she said.
No one came to the door at the fire department when a CBS 11 News crew stopped by Tuesday afternoon.
Smith, who has lived in Ellis County since 1989, says she can understand why the victim waited to report the incident. “We’re a close knit family around here and it would scare me to come forward if I was in his shoes, but I’m not in his shoes so I don’t know him.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, the President of the Emergency Services District No. 6, Joe Williamson, who oversees the volunteer firefighters, declined comment on the charges and whether the firefighters are out of a job.
Ellis County Commissioners Court Judge Carol Bush issued a statement calling the allegations “shocking and appalling.”
Bush says she is concerned for the victim and the safety of citizens who depend on the volunteer fire department. The Judge also said other fire departments are discussing how they will work together to prevent any gaps in fire coverage.
Richard Rozier is the former Emergency Services District No. 6 president. “I’m shocked and saddened to hear that this activity took place,” he said. But Rozier also said he believes the incident is isolated. “Just understand everyone was not involved in this. It was unknown to most of us and it’s a very sad thing.”
According to Brillhart, there are fewer than 20 volunteer firefighters in Ellis County. He says the arrests will impact staffing and sadly the entire team of people who give their time to help the community.
“It’s very upsetting,” Brillhart said shaking his head. “It destroys the reputation of the department and we may never gain that reputation back.”
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