I-Team: Former firefighter denies exposing himself
For a small volunteer fire department, the Pascoag Fire District has seen more than its share of controversies recently.
First, a former female employee filed a sexual harassment lawsuit and then, a criminal charge was brought against former captain and fire marshal Adam Lee.
"The general public assumes that I did this, or did that," Lee told the NBC 10 I-Team. "That's not the case."
Lee was arrested and charged with indecent exposure after a male firefighter and a female firefighter accused him of dropping his pants while the group was off duty on March 28. He denies he ever exposed himself.
"No. It did not happen," he said.
So what did happen? Lee said a group of firefighters was celebrating at George's Pizza in Burrillville and that several people were drinking heavily. He said two female firefighters approached him at the bar and made sexual advances.
"I ignored it. I just blew it off. We were having a good time. We were out drinking," he said.
After celebrating at the bar, Lee said he returned to his apartment on Main Street in Pascoag, along with a male firefighter and a female firefighter who lived across the hall from him.
That's when the story becomes a case of he said, they said.
According to a Burrillville police affidavit, Lee "exposed his genitals and began fondling himself ... causing them to be shocked and disgusted."
Lee said the group had a sexual conversation, but that nothing else happened.
"It was just a conversation, pros and cons," he said.
Lee said no one removed their clothes.
Facing a possible trial, Lee opted to plead no contest to a single charge of disorderly conduct. Due to an error in court records, NBC 10 had reported that Lee pleaded to indecent exposure.
Even though disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor and Lee received no jail time, he lost his job. Last month, Burrillville's fire commissioners voted four to one to fire him.
But not everyone supported the decision.
"Adam should have his job back and everything. That's the problem. The public doesn't understand," said Mike Colonair, the Pascoag fire commissioner who was the lone vote to keep Lee on the job.
"I'm very, very disappointed with my partners in this," he said. "The evidence has provided that he's innocent."
Pascoag Fire Chief John DeFusco told the I-Team he can't comment on Lee's termination or the pending sexual harassment lawsuit against the fire district.
Lee is one of four defendants named in the civil suit filed in 2011, along with the chief. A former female employee claims she was "touched in a sexual manner" and told that "women had no business working for the Pascoag Fire District." That case is still pending, and Lee also declined to comment.
NBC 10 also attempted to contact the two firefighters who filed the complaint with Burrillville police, but couldn't find current addresses or phone numbers for them. The I-Team also reached out to one of them on Facebook, but never heard back.