Six firefighters charged for sex with teen

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

STRASBURG — Six members of the Strasburg Fire Department, including its chief, were arrested over the weekend as a result of a Virginia State Police investigation into accusations that five of them had sex with a 17-year-old girl.

Arrested were Chief Dale R. King, 36, of Strasburg; Nathan S. Hirschburg, 26, of Winchester; Andrew S. Key, 24, of Strasburg; Bradley A. Markin, 21, of Strasburg; Christopher L. Pangle, 32, of Woodstock; and Fabian J. Sosa, 25, of Woodstock.

The suspects were detained at different times between Friday and Monday, Sgt. Les Tyler, spokesman for the VSP, said on Tuesday.

They have all been charged with misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Tyler declined to say whether further charges are forthcoming.

According to documents unsealed in Shenandoah County Circuit Court in November, all of the suspects except Pangle are accused of having sex with the girl and posting a video of it to the mobile application Snapchat in early 2017.

Court documents did not say when or where the video was made. Pangle was not named in the documents, and Tyler declined to say why he was charged.

A member of the fire department not affiliated with the suspects told the victim’s mother about the video, court documents said. The victim showed the video to her mother, who emailed a complaint to Strasburg Mayor Rich Orndorff Jr. on April 4, documents said.

Orndorff met with the mother on April 5 and viewed screenshots of the video and a text message conversation between the mother and the victim, during which the victim confirmed the video’s existence, documents said.

According to the unsealed affidavit, the screenshots indicated that the victim “was highly intoxicated” and was intimidated by the five suspects.

Orndorff forwarded the mother’s complaint to the Strasburg Police Department. Chief Tim Sutherly reported it to state police, documents said.

VSP Special Agent Heather Jones obtained a search warrant on April 7, documents said. Between April 7 and April 11, state troopers confiscated phones from the victim and all of the suspects except Pangle, and searched their homes and the fire department, documents said.

According to Capt. Wayne Sager of the Strasburg department, Sutherly reported the case to state police because one of the suspects is a town employee, and some of them have personal or professional relationships with members of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office and Fire and Rescue Department.

“We wanted to avoid potential conflicts of interest,” Sager said on Tuesday. “You can’t really investigate your own people with something at this level.”

Calls to Graham Mason, the fire department’s president, for comment on the arrests were not returned on Tuesday. Calls to RSW Regional Jail in Warren County asking whether the suspects were still incarcerated also weren’t returned on Tuesday.

The suspects will appear in Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, but no hearings have been scheduled, Tyler said.

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