COLUMBUS, Ohio — A former Columbus firefighter cadet who says she was sexually harassed by an ex-battalion chief will receive $250,000 in a settlement of a lawsuit.
WCMH Channel 4 reports the settlement of the lawsuit includes a $25,000 payment to the woman from former Columbus Division of Fire Battalion Chief Joe Richard, who was accused of sexually harassing the cadet.
The cadet is one of three female cadets who accused Richard of inappropriate behavior, the Columbus Dispatch reports. In the lawsuit that was settled, WCMH reports the cadet says that she told Richard she had a knee injury. Richard reportedly had her come to his office and ordered her to take off her clothes, then touched her sexually.
Richard has denied the allegations but has retired from the department, the Dispatch reports. He worked for the department for 34 years.
The Dispatch reports the city’s cadet program started in April 2019. Trainers with the department began to question Richard because he frequently called in female cadets for private meetings in his office, the Dispatch reports.
The private meetings “abruptly” ended after Richard was asked about the meetings, reports say.