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Coventry Fire District chairman resigns amid molestation charges

Frank Palin

The chairman of the Coventry Fire District has resigned amid molestation charges, with an attorney reading the resignation letter during a meeting Wednesday night.

Frank Palin, 67, who worked part-time as a nurse practitioner at an assisted-living center in Canton, Massachusetts, was charged with indecent assault and battery on an elderly and disabled patient.

Investigators previously said the assault happened May 19 at the Cornerstone at Canton and that the female patient was under the care of Old Colony Hospice of Bridgewater, which employed Palin.

The company said it suspended Palin, with a spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Health noting that it suspended his license.

Police said the woman's family put a camera in her room so they could monitor how she was doing. Footage purportedly showed Palin touching the woman's breast while making sexual comments.

A police report describes a man with a stethoscope entering the room and eventually rubbing the woman's breast. It indicates the man asked the woman questions such as, "Does that feel good?" and "I bet you liked sex when you were younger."

Police said the patient appeared to be "in distress" for the duration of the encounter. But police said Palin told investigators he was examining a benign lump.

Meanwhile, the president of the firefighters union told the NBC 10 I-Team that they "want to public to know that Mr. Palin isn’t representative of the firefighters who do their job here in town every day."

NBC 10 News knocked on Palin's door Wednesday night, but no one answered.

In the letter, Palin said he would resign as chairman of the board. But even some firefighters are confused if he will also resign from the board itself, noting that it isn’t clear.

The Coventry Fire District has 30 days to find a new chairman. The board will discuss the vacancy at a meeting Saturday at 7 p.m.

There will not be a public vote, as the board will make the decision.

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