Toronto firefighter charged with sexual assault after allegations by female co-worker
Jamie Wilson broke her silence in June after what she says were years of bullying by her male colleagues
A firefighter has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault in connection with allegations by a female co-worker who came forward earlier this year alleging a long history of harassment and discrimination during her time with Toronto Fire Services.
Kevin Hughes was charged Tuesday with two counts of sexual assault and one count of assault with a weapon in connection with what police described as a "historical" incident following an investigation that began in August. City staff confirm he is currently on leave and has been "out of the workplace" since 2012.
His accuser, Jamie Wilson, broke her silence in June after what she says were nearly 10 years of bullying by her male colleagues since becoming a firefighter in 2006.
She switched fire halls three times between 2008 to 2010 after complaining about her experience. She arrived in 2010 at one of the busiest stations in Toronto. Three years later, she alleges, she was punched repeatedly by a male colleague.
In the fall of 2013, the city of Toronto hired an external lawyer to investigate the assault allegations relating to Wilson, as well as harassment complaints involving 24 other male firefighters.
The investigation took nine months and revealed that inappropriate comments were made, and confirmed that Wilson was punched on one occasion.
On Wednesday, city of Toronto officials were tight-lipped, saying the charges against Hughes are a police matter.
"What I can advise is that we take this matter very seriously and are cooperating fully with the police investigation," city spokesperson Wynna Brown told CBC Toronto.
In September, the city offered Wilson a job with fire prevention. But Wilson declined, saying after all she's been through she wanted nothing to do with the fire service.
"I was so proud of being a firefighter," Wilson said. "I do love the job, but there's just all the discrimination and retaliation … I just can't go back."
With files from Linda Guerriero, Lisa Mayor