Clearwater fire lieutenant, medic suspended for having sexual relationship while on duty

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – A Clearwater Fire & Rescue lieutenant and medic have each been suspended for having a sexual relationship on duty. On Monday, the city released the findings of an investigation into the relationship.

In August, a CFR driver operator reported a possibly inappropriate relationship between Lt. William Fry and a subordinate, medic Tiffany Seabolt.

The report says Seabolt then sent the driver operator threatening text messages, saying “you need to call me as soon as you get this … you seriously need to stop avoiding me and call me back asap … I have a lot of questions to ask you! … If you don’t call me back, I will be going to human resources about your accusations!”

Seabolt told the assistant chiefs that the driver operator had taken a photo of her while she was in the shower, told her he was in love with her and slapped another medic’s butt with a paddle. An investigation concluded these allegations were unfounded.

The allegations “gave the appearance that (Fry) and FM Seabolt were making counter accusations to deflect the investigation into your inappropriate conduct,” the report says.

Investigation into Fry, Seabolt

Staff members said Fry and Seabolt made it “like living with a married couple,” according to the report.  “There was a tenseness and vibe from them … There was ‘stress from them arguing,’” the report says.

Evidence shows the two met in a covert way, according to the report. Seabolt’s personal vehicle was parked in Fry’s driveway on Dec. 12 at 12:12 a.m., according to the report. Fry declined to answer questions about this “off duty” conduct.

Human resources staff found shirtless photos of Fry on Seabolt’s personal electronics, according to the report. “Human Resources was in possession of text messages between (Fry) and FM Seabolt’s husband which indicate (Fry) admitted (he) sent them to her as a joke,” the report says. “You denied sending FM Seabolt the shirtless photo of yourself with your flight jacket around your waist, however, during a Facebook exchange with Fire Medic Seabolt’s husband you admitted to him that you sent the photo to her as a joke.”

The evidence “overwhelmingly” indicates the two had a sexual relationship while on duty, the report says. Fry’s suspension is for 30 days without pay while Seabolt’s suspension is for 15 days without pay.Blue_download_app_button

Clearwater fire lieutenant resigns after firehouse sex video surfaces

 Cell phone video depicting Former Clearwater Firefighter Lt. Stephen Coward
Clearwater Fire Station 51, pictured above left. 2014 Cell phone video, above right, depicting former Clearwater Fire & Rescue Lt. Stephen Coward

It’s not the first time a Clearwater firefighter has been investigated for salacious activities. In 2014, Former Lt. Stephen Coward’s 19 year run with Clearwater Fire & Rescue ended abruptly with his resignation after a graphic cell phone video and sex talk e-mails surfaced indicating he had been having intimate encounters with women other than his wife inside Clearwater Fire Station 51.

It wasn’t much of a mystery, thanks to the video and explicit sex talk in the 40 e-mails sent to the city by an anonymous source.

The video showed Coward engaged in intercourse with a woman inside the bathroom of his dormitory room at the firehouse. He’s smiling and holding up a cell phone that is recording that sex act in a mirror.

That video, along with 40 salacious e-mails involving Coward and another woman were on a flash drive sent to a Clearwater fire chief on August 6, 2014.

Coward, who had been a fire lieutenant with Clearwater for ten years and had a number of commendations on his record, resigned effective September 9, 2014, before the city could move forward with his termination. His records also indicated he had a contentious relationship with his bosses in the department.

Clearwater Fire & Rescue Spokesman Rob Shaw insisted at that time that Coward’s actions were an isolated incident involving one firefighter in one fire station.

Investigative records reveal that Coward admitted to having sex with two women other than his wife over the period of about a year and that he expressed remorse for his actions. 8 On Your Side could not reach Coward or his wife for comment at the time of the investigation.

Clearwater fire Lieutenant resigns after firehouse sex video surfaces
Clearwater fire lieutenant resigns after firehouse sex video surfaces

“When firefighters on the job they’re supposed to be working and presenting a good image for the city,” Shaw said. “Not engaging in this type of behavior.”

The city allowed Coward to quietly resign before proceeding with his termination, but Shaw insists there was no gray area in his unacceptable on-duty behavior.

Back in 2014, Clearwater’s human resources investigators who worked the case recommended the installation of surveillance cameras in all city fire stations. We checked with City of Clearwater spokesperson Rob Shaw on Tuesday and he said the city wants to install cameras outside of fire stations and in common areas, but a timetable has not been set and the cameras are not yet an expenditure item.

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