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Lewd jokes, sexual advances, and sexual innuendos are among the list of complaints from female firefighters.

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With such great respect we have for our firemen and firewomen it is disappointing to see these alleged allegations come up with Columbus Fire Department.

Three women sent letters to 10TV about their list of alleged inappropriate behavior they have faced while working alongside Battalion Chief Joe Richard. The list of sexual misconduct includes:

  • Telling lewd jokes, or sharing sexual anecdotes, innuendos
  • Staring in a sexually suggestive or offensive manner
  • Making sexual comments about appearance, clothing or body parts
  • Asking sexual questions, such as inquiries about someone’s sexual history or their sexual orientation

Also, the women said since Richard, who is a top Columbus Division of Fire official, acted inappropriate would then encourage other men to feel comfortable to do so too.

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I advised him being on the Fire Department is a blessing and a curse because I love my job, but hate the inappropriate attention. In my frustration, I stated that men can be so stupid, they forget they are at work.”

It is also stated that Richard, when addressed about his behavior by one of the women, responded, “you women make it very difficult with us because you have ‘that’ and he pointed between my legs at my private area.”

Richard is out on leave since these allegations have surfaced and tell 10TV he is “shocked and devastated” by these allegations. He is on paid leave and banned from stepping foot on Columbus Fire property.

Women Detail Sexual Harassment By Top Ohio Fire Official  was originally published on