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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
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Published: Friday, 4/19/2013

Springfield fire lieutenant fired for lewd behavior

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Springfield Township fire lieutenant has been fired for — among other things — showing a picture of his penis to a female firefighter.

Township trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to fire Jason Bowman of Swanton for conduct unbecoming of an officer, dereliction of duty, and sexual harassment, Fire Chief Barry Cousino said.

The termination stemmed from a complaint filed by a Springfield Township firefighter who said Mr. Bowman had showed her a picture of his penis while on duty and later sent her a sexually explicit text message, Chief Cousino said.

Mr. Bowman was suspended March 28; Chief Cousino was unsure when the initial report was made.

While investigating the allegations, the department scanned Mr. Bowman’s work computer at Station 53 on Garden Road and found pornographic videos, Chief Cousino said.

The chief said he’s never had to deal with a similar situation in his 17 years in command of the department. “I just want to send a message that I’m not going to tolerate it during my tenure,” he said.

Mr. Bowman, 39, has been affiliated with the department since 1994, first as a volunteer, then as a part-time firefighter, then full-time. He became a lieutenant in 2008, according to department records. When contacted for this story, Mr. Bowman said “no comment,” then hung up the phone.

Chief Cousino alleged Mr. Bowman admitted to showing the firefighter a picture of his penis.

“It wasn’t a case of he said, she said. He admitted to it,” he contended .

While Chief Cousino said he was not aware of any previous allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Bowman, this wasn’t the first time Mr. Bowman has been disciplined by the department.

A string of discipline references in Mr. Bowman’s personnel file includes failure to complete required equipment inspections, failure to complete reports on time, open arguments with officers about firefighting tactics, failure to show for a scheduled shift, tardiness, sharing of his concerns about disciplinary decisions with subordinates, and aggressive driving.

In his file are also several correspondences from department members and firefighters in other departments complaining about Mr. Bowman’s alleged conduct, including his confrontation with a firefighter from another department about that person’s alleged affair, demeaning behavior to subordinates, and an allegation Mr. Bowman was visibly intoxicated and obnoxious at a downtown Toledo bar while wearing a Springfield Fire Department shirt.

Chief Cousino said he believes Mr. Bowman plans to grieve his termination.

Attempts to reach union leader Greg May, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3544, for comment were unsuccessful.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.



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