March 25, 2009 in City

Former firefighter to serve jail time after guilty verdict

The Spokesman-Review
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Daniel W. Ross, a former Spokane firefighter fired for having sex with a 16-year-old girl in a city firehouse in 2006, was found guilty on March 24, 2009, of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation in a separate case involving another 16-year-old in 2007.
(Full-size photo)

A former Spokane firefighter fired for having sex with a 16-year-old girl in a city firehouse in 2006 was found guilty on Tuesday of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation in a separate case involving another 16-year-old in 2007.

Daniel W. Ross, 38, was sentenced to a year in jail with 335 days suspended, ensuring that he will spend at least a month behind bars starting in August, officials said today.

He must undergo a “psycho-sexual evaluation” and comply with any recommendations for treatment made by the evaluator, said Kyle Treece, deputy Spokane County prosecuting attorney for the case. He was also given two years probation.

“The most important thing we were after was a mandatory psycho-sexual evaluation,” Treece said.

Ross was found guilty Tuesday by a four-man, two-woman jury before District Court Judge Gregory Tripp in a one-day trial.

The victim and her mother testified, but Ross did not, according to Treece.

Ross was accused of molesting the girl at his South Side home after buying her new bras and asking her to model them.

At the time of the incident, Ross’ wife, Colleen, was running a state-licensed care facility for adults at the home. As a result of the 2007 allegation, the state last summer revoked the license for the care facility.

Treece said information submitted in court Tuesday indicated that Ross did not have a prior criminal record.

Delay in prosecution of the 2007 case came after the sheriff’s office completed its investigation and sent the report to the city prosecutor’s office in November 2007. The case then was sent to the county prosecuting attorney, a process that took 11 months before the charge was filed. County officials said the case should have been handled in city court by a city prosecutor.

Ross fondled the victim’s breasts after buying her new bras, then straddled her on a bed while giving her a massage, the charging documents allege.

In the firehouse case in 2006, no charges were brought against Ross even though a 16-year-old “Jane Doe” claims she was raped by Ross while he was on duty at Fire Station No. 17 in the Indian Trail area of northwest Spokane. Ross has said the encounter was consensual and that he did not know the victim’s age at the time.

The victim in that case filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city seeking $6 million in damages. The city was dismissed as a defendant in the case in U.S. District Court last September, leaving Ross and his wife as the only defendant. Two police detectives who ordered Ross to delete digital photos he took in the firehouse incident also were dismissed as defendants.

An appeal of that ruling was filed by the girl’s attorney. The appeal is scheduled for written briefs to the court by April 17.

County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker said he could not bring criminal charges in that case after the evidence had been destroyed.

Mike Prager can be reached at (509) 459-5454 or mikep@spokesman.com.


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