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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Volunteer firefighter charged with rape

A volunteer firefighter from northern Spokane County was jailed this week for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl he treated during a medical call in September, according to court documents.

John L. Fitch, 39, has been charged with two counts of third-degree child rape. He declined to be interviewed in the Spokane County Jail on Thursday. He was released later in the day after posting bail.

The teen told detectives that she and Fitch first met during the summer, court records say. It’s unclear whether that first meeting occurred on Sept. 1, when the girl called 911 complaining of chest pain. Fitch, who lives in the area, responded to that call, the records state.

On more than one occasion subsequent to the medical call, Fitch saw the teen and took her blood pressure, the teen told an investigator. This was not done as part of Fitch’s duties as a firefighter, said John Love, Spokane County deputy prosecutor.

The girl told a detective that on Sept. 21, Fitch invited her to his home and that he took off her clothes and had sex with her.

The teen also told a detective that they had sex about nine times between Sept. 21 and Nov. 1, while his wife was at work, records state.

A friend of the alleged victim told a detective that when the two of them visited Fitch at his home, she heard Fitch discuss having sexual relations with the girl. The friend told this to her mother, who informed a school counselor.

Fitch, who lives in Chattaroy, became a volunteer firefighter with Spokane County Fire District No. 4 in January 2003. He has been on an unrelated leave of absence since Oct. 1, said Fire District No. 4 Chief Edward Lewis.

Lewis said the department has cooperated with the Spokane County sheriff’s investigation of the alleged rapes. After finding out about the charges Thursday, Lewis said that Fitch would be put on administrative leave and that the department would conduct its own investigation.