Wash. Union Fights Release of Files to Newspaper in Teen-Sex Case

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By: E&P Staff

The firefighters union in Spokane, Wash., is attempting to block release of the city’s file to a local newspaper in the case of a fireman who quit last Wednesday after admitting to on-duty sex with a teenage girl at the firehouse.

The Spokesman-Review had requested their release under the state’s Open Records Act.

Firefighters Local 29, which represents Spokane’s 290 firefighters, got a temporary court order blocking the city attorney’s office from releasing the documents.

Attorney Christian Phelps, representing the former firefighter, Daniel Ross, and the union, said release of the information would violate Ross’ right to privacy and would be “offensive and embarrassing.”

The newspaper countered with a filing Friday that said there’s no legal reason the documents shouldn’t be released to the public. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday before Superior Court Judge Harold D. Clarke.

Ross, who is married, resigned amid public outcry over his sexual encounter inside the Indian Trail Fire Station last month with a 16-year-old girl. He said he thought she was 18.

City officials say Ross used a city computer to make contact with the teenager. The fire department learned Ross used a city-owned computer at least 22 times to go to an adult-only Web site.

Local detectives, meanwhile, have become the subjects of a police probe for directing the firefighter to delete sexually explicit images of the girl from a digital camera.

Last year, Jim West was recalled as Mayor of Spokane after he admitted to visiting Gay.com on his city-owned computer.

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