Delaware State Police this week charged the chief of emergency medical services for the Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad with both unlawful sexual contact and sexual harassment in connection with an alleged assault on a fellow EMT in early May.
Police said their investigation into the alleged sexual assault started on May 28, when a female member of the Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad reported the incident to Troop 7 in Lewes. The investigation, based on the victim’s report of the alleged encounter, involved 46-year-old Jerry Johnson of Millsboro, also an emergency medical technician, who was accused of sexually assaulting her.
According to his profile on the squad’s website, Johnson joined the squad in October of 1994. Before becoming the chief of EMS, he held the position of ambulance captain for 15 consecutive years. Johnson had also been the treasurer, assistant treasurer and ambulance lieutenant for the department in the past.
According to the DSP, the 25-year-old victim — one of four EMTs in the department, located at 31738 Indian Mission Road in Long Neck — told them the incident occurred after she and Johnson were left alone in the office together, when the two other technicians had to respond to a medical call.
Police said she told them that Johnson had repeatedly asked her to lift up her shirt and expose her breasts, and that she decided to leave the room after repeatedly refusing those requests. They said the victim told them that Johnson allegedly followed her into the crew room, where he allegedly proceeded to again ask her to expose her breasts.
According to the police report, Johnson allegedly became physical in the crew room and allegedly grabbed the victim’s shirt at the waistline. They said she told police that he was able to expose her breasts and allegedly groped her.
Police said the victim reported that, after gaining her composure, she was able to push Johnson off and walk away from the situation.
The victim reported having filed two reports on the alleged incident with the president of the station. The first was called in on May 23, they said, and the second on May 28. Neither of the reports received a response, she told police.
Police reported that on May 29, Johnson turned himself in to troopers at Troop 7. He was charged with third degree Unlawful Sexual Contact and Sexual Harassment. He was subsequently released on a $600 unsecured bond.
Delaware State Police Public Information Officer MCpl. Gary Fournier noted that the maximum penalty for the first offense of third-degree unwanted sexual contact was a fine of up to $2,300 and/or a jail sentence of up to a year. The maximum penalty for the first offense of a sexual harassment charge is up to a $575 fine and/or a jail sentence of up to 30 days.
The Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad this week declined to comment the incident to the Coastal Point.
The status of Johnson’s employment at the station was also not offered, but his stature and profile remained on the Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad’s website mid-week.
Victim Services available through DSP
The Delaware State Police has trained victim service specialists available through its website who can respond to any concerns victims of or witnesses to traumatic incidents may call about. The specialists have been trained at the police academy or in the private sector.
Those services can include short- and long-term services, trauma relief and positive support. Victim Services also has provided 24-hour emergency intervention, court accompaniments and follow up calls, letters and home visits.
Anyone who has experienced or witnessed any form of sexual or domestic assault can contact Victim Services’ toll-free hotline for answers to their questions and/or support, by calling 1-800-VICTIM-1 (toll-free inside Delaware) or (302) 659-6823.