Local News

Garner Rescue chief quits amid sex assault probe

Posted September 8, 2010 11:21 a.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2010 6:13 p.m. EDT

— The chief of Garner Rescue Squad resigned Tuesday, six days after a department employee was accused of a sexual assault.

A woman reported to Garner police that she was assaulted on Sept. 1 in the former offices of Garner EMS & Rescue Squad on Seventh Avenue by a Garner Rescue employee, Lt. Chris Hagwood of the Garner Police Department said Wednesday.

Rescue Squad Chief Bill Frederick resigned Tuesday, but it wasn't immediately clear if the move was linked to the assault allegation.

Ralph Smith, the chairman of Garner Rescue's board of directors, said Frederick didn't provide a reason for stepping down, other than saying it was "a personal matter."

Fourteen years ago, Frederick resigned from the Sanford Police Department amid allegations that he traded leniency on criminal charges for sexual favors. He was later convicted of attempted obstruction of justice and was placed on probation.

Frederick couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

Smith said no other Garner Rescue employees have resigned or been fired.

"Personally, I really regretted it. He has great experience. He's done a good job for the Garner EMS operationally for years," he said.

Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said the situation has left him frustrated.

"There are so many good things happening in Garner. To hear about something like this (is difficult)," Williams said. "I'm borderline angry, but I stopped at frustration. Probably the longer I think about it, the more angry I will become."

The assault allegation is the latest problem for the troubled rescue squad, which was formerly known as Garner EMS & Rescue. Wake County EMS took over emergency medical services in Garner in May because of Garner EMS' mounting financial difficulties.

The squad continues to provide rescue services to Garner and non-emergency ambulance services, which operates as Garner Medical Transport, under a one-year, $280,000 contract with the town.