A Wantagh Fire Department medic alleges that ex-chief Kenneth Kelly and Engine 7 captain Josef Seier sexually assaulted her at a birthday party that took place at the firehouse last year, according to a lawsuit filed on Jan. 12.
Vesselin Mitev, a Stony Brook-based lawyer representing the woman, said the alleged assault occurred throughout the late evening and early morning of Jan. 14 and Jan. 15 in 2022. The lawsuit claims that the woman was at the party celebrating Seier’s birthday, and Kelly and Seier executed a premeditated plan to get her intoxicated with copious amounts of liquor before taking advantage of her in a bathroom.
The woman declined to be identified at this time.
“At approximately 2:00 a.m., defendant Kelly Jr. stated to defendant Seier that they were going to ‘wet her like a sponge,’ referring to the plaintiff,” the lawsuit states. “And then defendant Kelly Jr. began shutting down the party and telling everyone to leave.”
Mitev added that the woman had rejected Kelly and Seier’s advances previously while sober, and continued to do so while intoxicated. According to the lawsuit, the alleged sexual acts were Seier’s “birthday present.”
Supporting the woman’s claim is a text message that was allegedly sent by Kelly to the woman that reads: “Had fun last night. But remember that’s between you me and Joe only forever.”
“She went to [The Wantagh Fire Department] for an internal investigation,” Mitev said. “But she was actually threatened with disciplinary action for getting intoxicated while on the job. It’s very ironic.”
Mitev added that fire department did investigate her claims, and that Kelly and Seier were briefly removed from the volunteer unit but returned in a matter of days, after refusing to cooperate with the department’s internal investigation. Mitev said the woman has not returned to her position in the fire department since the alleged assault took place.
In April, the woman and Mitev filed a notice of claim, which led to the woman being deposed by lawyers for the fire department November. Along with the civil lawsuit, Mitev and the woman are considering criminal charges as well.
“We’re keeping our options open,” Mitev told the Herald, regarding criminal charges.
According to Mitev, the law firm Goldberg Segalla is representing the fire department as well as Kelly and Seier. As of press time, Goldberg Segalla did not return a request for comment.