PLAINFIELD – Plainfield Fire Chief Ralph Wells, the father of a department captain charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old cadet, stepped down from his position on Wednesday, officials said.
Wells made his decision after a fire company meeting, said Fire District President Michael Surprenant, who is also the Plainfield police chief.
“Deputy Chief Larry Loomis was appointed interim chief,” he said. “The next step is for the fire company to recommend a replacement (for Wells) and have an accept-or-deny vote on the matter.”
No date for such a vote had been set as of Thursday afternoon. Surprenant said Wells has not resigned from the company.
Wells’s demotion comes two weeks after his 28-year-old son, Kevin Wells, a captain with the volunteer fire company, was charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault.
In a warrant, Kevin Wells, of 220 Pickett Road, told police he had consensual sex three times with a teenage “junior” member this year, including once at the North Road station. The victim told police Kevin Wells raped her inside the station’s bay, but two subsequent sexual encounters were consensual.
According to state statute, it is a crime for a supervisor, including a fire captain, to have sex with a person under their care if the victim is younger than 18.
When confronted by police in August, Kevin Wells said he was aware of an in-house sexual harassment investigation concerning his actions. No information on such an investigation has been publically released.
Kevin Wells also said he sent a group electronic message to a lieutenant and Loomis…
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