Firefighters on Leave as Inappropriate Behavior is Investigated
by Emily Luxen
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Five Metropolitan Nashville firefighters are on administrative leave after allegations of some improper sexual behavior.
Capt. James Overton, engineer Kerry Sales, and firefighters Darrin Bell, Quincy Corbitt and Jason Copeland were placed on paid administrative leave after fire officials learned about the alleged incident. The alleged sex acts took place at Fire Station 24. Fire officials suspended the entire crew at station 24, but suspect only three individuals were involved in the alleged incident.
Fire administrators say the allegations are troubling.
"You expect people to have some dignity and respect for [the] position," said acting Metro Fire Chief Billy Lynch, "They work for tax payers, and they should act as adults."
This information came to light Saturday when the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department responded to General Hospital in regard to a woman who believed that she may have been drugged after visiting Copeland's Antioch home.
While questioning the woman, she told officers she and two friends had been to a fire hall on at least one occasion to perform sex acts for money.
"According to her and at least one other woman, there was stripping in exchange for money, and sexual activity for money at the fire hall," said Metro Police Spokesperson Don Aaron.
When officers questioned Copeland, he said he was being extorted by a friend of the 23-year-old woman. Copeland reported that he was called by suspected gang member Ray Dontrell Johnson, 26, and told that there would be "blood" if Copeland did not pay him $500. Johnson also threatened Copeland's job, and he would disclose Copeland's relationship with the 23-year-old.
Detectives set up a sting in which $500 was placed in the glove compartment of an undercover police vehicle. Johnson arrived at the Pizza Hut with another man. After Johnson retrieved the money from the glove compartment, he and his friend, Cortez Deonte Smith, 20, were arrested. Both were booked on a charge of extortion Tuesday night.
Metro police say the 23-year-old woman has offered significantly inconsistent statements in regard to what took place at Copeland's home. There has been no evidence of sexual activity occurring there. A blood sample from the woman was taken at General Hospital and will be analyzed for drug/alcohol content.
The firefighters have not been charged with anything yet, but will remain off duty pending the completion of the investigation. More information will be released following the completion of the investigation.