DA: Fire officers knew of alleged abuse by firefighter, failed to report it

Courtesy: Google Maps

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Two Lancaster County fire company officials are facing charges, accused of failing to report suspected sexual abuse within their ranks.

Both men were rank officers at the West Willow Fire Company in 2009.

Michael Topper, 44, Anthony Todd, 50, now face third-degree misdemeanor charges.

“It came to light that there was some illegal sexual contact between a male firefighter and an underage female junior firefighter,” said Brett Hambright, spokesman for Lancaster County district attorney.

Stanley Todd, who was 23 at the time, was arrested earlier this year and charged for that 2009 sexual contact.

The alleged victim told police that she told Topper and Anthony Todd about the abuse.

“Mr. Topper and Mr. Todd both admitted to authorities that she did come forward in 2009,” Hambright said, “and they didn’t go any further with the information.”

By law, they were required to; they’re considered mandated reporters of suspected abuse.

“This junior firefighter was under their guidance,” he said. “She was in training.”

Hambright said Anthony Todd is the step-father of the accused firefighter.

Midstate child advocates say no relationship is an excuse.

“This is an adult responsibility, and at the end of the day, that responsibility to ensure the safety of a child should trump anything else,” said Lisa Cameron, director of counseling and empowerment services at the YWCA in Lancaster.

Even if the details of what allegedly happened are vague, Cameron said, let the experts handle it.

“We would say when in doubt, make the report,” she said. “We are mandated reporters, we are not investigators.”

The two were mailed their charges and are due in court at the end of the month.

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