Coventry fire chief resigns - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Coventry fire chief resigns

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The embattled Coventry fire chief resigned Thursday night after Dunkin Donuts employees filed sexual harassment complaints against him.

Joseph Carilli will remain as a member of the department, but will step down from his leadership position following a meeting of the Volunteer Fire Association, which is a privately funded organization.

However, Carilli did not appear at the meeting Thursday night. Instead, a fellow firefighter read a statement from former chief.

"I conducted myself in a professional mannerism in all my dealing with fire and medical emergencies," part of the statement read. "Anyone who knows me knows very clearly I would go out of my way for anyone and those who criticized me. I am very outgoing and friendly. If at any time the employees of Dunkin Donuts felt uncomfortable with me, that was not my intention."

A town memo obtained by Eyewitness News indicates that on four separate occasions Dunkin Donuts employees in town were harassed by the fire chief. The memo said he "looked up and down" at a woman's back and butt and said "I'm just enjoying the view."

"Well accusing doesn't mean he did anything, right," said Sandy Gaul of Coventry.

According to a letter from the Town Manager John Elsesser, Carilli cannot be prosecuted for criminal conduct.

In 1984, Carilli was charged with three counts of second-degree sex assault and one count of risk of injury to a minor. He was convicted of risk of injury to a minor for a sexual offense against a 24-year-old and a 14-year-old. He served an eight-month prison sentence with four of them in jail and the other four on "home release."

The town of Coventry said the offense happened after Carilli, who has been a firefighter for 37 years, joined the department.

"My understanding is he petitioned the (Fire Association) Board and they let him back in, in the belief he paid his penalty," Elsesser told Eyewitness News.

According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, there is no prohibition on convicted felons becoming EMTs. The Department of Health is still investigating the situation though.

Carilli would not talk with Eyewitness News on Thursday.

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