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Firefighter Charged With Sexual Assault of Teenage Girl in Ambulance

Victim tells police the suspect touched her and took pictures of her while being taken to the hospital.

RACINE COUNTY, WI -- **Updated 8:40 a.m. Aug. 17

A 37-year-old firefighter is on administrative leave for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenager in an ambulance while he took her to the hospital.

The assault reportedly happened in July 2011, but charges were formally filed Thursday for the first time. Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete said it took a year for the case to reach this point because the state Department of Criminal Investigation had to complete a report before the Sheriff’s office could refer the case to prosecutors.

In her report to police, the victim said she thought she heard the sound of pictures being taken.

"DCI had some information they needed to finish processing," Chiapete told Patch. "Images had to be downloaded and analyzed before the Sheriff could send the referral to our office."

Jodin D. Froeber, Kenosha, of the Somers Fire Department, was charged in Racine County Circuit Court Thursday with one count of second-degree sexual assault. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint from the Racine County District Attorney's office, on July 19, 2011, a 17-year-old girl working at the Trefoil Oak Program Center, about a quarter-mile south of the Racine-Kenosha county line. She began having seizures and needed to be taken to the hospital for treatment so the Somers Fire Department responded and took the girl to St. Mary's/All Saints Hospital in Racine.

The girl was in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital either in or Racine when the assault allegedly occurred. The victim said she could feel a man reach under her clothes and touch her breast. The man then stood over her and lifted up her clothes again while she heard the sound of a camera shutter.

The man then moved and sat next to the victim and lifted up her shorts and began to touch her genitals, which lasted for about a minute.

Officials with the Somers Fire Department told Racine County Sheriff’s Department investigators that Froeber responded to the call while off duty and was the only person in the back of the ambulance at the time. The driver of the ambulance said they could see Froeber moving around and talking to the victim, but couldn’t see what he was doing.

Froeber told investigators he treated the girl and gave her diazepam to calm her down on the way to the hospital.

According to Somers Fire Chief Steven Krause, Froeber has been a member of the department since 2000 and is still employed by the department. He was placed on administrative leave, with pay, effective Thursday when the charges against him were filed.

"His record has been spotless to this point," Krause told Patch Friday. "Beyond that, I can't comment further because the matter is still being investigated."

Froeber on Thursday was assigned a $2,500 signature bond while awaiting trial. His preliminary hearing is at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 29 before Court Commissioner Alice A. Rudebusch and he may not be involved with transporting patients under further notice by the court.

sleepy sleepyo August 18, 2012 at 12:12 AM
same thing for me. I thought I was processing cards and making calls and in reality I was holding a jacket and pulling at it asking people if they had called the names on the cards that were not ther but I saw them as plain as day.
bigdoglover August 18, 2012 at 12:47 AM
I was in a car accident 3 days before christmas. In the ambulance I took my wallet out to show my drivers license to an officer who came in while the emt worked on me. The wallet contained $200.00 to buy a present for my wife, when I was released from the hospital no one had my wallet. I went to the fire station the next day and no one knew anything about it. The next day a mailman came to my door and said he found my wallet in a mail box that was 200 feet from the fire station, without the 200.00 dollars of course. This was 30 years ago. To this day I will never trust a cop or an emt. Even though they should be held to higher standards, they dont hold themselves to it.
Jason Gabbert August 18, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Look here, Heather. I don't live in Wisconsin. I got your link to this story because the local Patch where I live put it on Facebook. I have asked three times if there were any type of photographs included in the criminal charging complaint. That question has not been answered. If there were photos, what were they? If not, is there anything pertaining to what photographs may or may not have been found? It says it took a year because they were looking through photographs. Okay, what are the photos? Or are there any? One answer. That's all I ask. One answer.
Heather Asiyanbi August 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM
@Jason - Evidence for this case is not attached to the criminal complaint. The photos processed by DCI are considered evidence and will not be made public unless or until there is a trial in this matter. Froeber is due in court this morning at 8:30, and I will be there. A story will follow shortly.
KCfactr September 07, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I'd think it's actually done out of respect. Most people work in the capacity of Fire AND EMS, and this is the case here. When addressing them, their title and rank is Firefighter. (Or in his case, Captain - which he should have been called) Most FF/EMT's I work with, if referred to by one or the other, would rather be called "Firefighter" than "EMT" because it's just a more respected position that requires greater risk and physical demand. But "paramedic" would be more appropriate here anyway, as it would acknowledge his advanced level of care. He has advanced medical training beyond the scope of a basic EMT. Diazepam cannot be administered by basic life support providers - it's only in the scope of practice of some Intermediate services and Paramedics.

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