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Volunteer, 16, ‘sexually harassed’ by New Jersey fire chief, 45, with a string of shocking comments

Volunteer, 16, sexually harassed by New Jersey fire chief, 45, with a string of shocking comments about her body, court papers allege

  • Franklin Fire Department Chief Raymond Read allegedly asked Priya Gupta, who was 16 at the time, about her pubic hair in 2018
  • Read allegedly told Gupta he could ‘teach you some skills with your tongue’
  • The teenager was volunteering as an emergency services technician at the time

A New Jersey fire chief was been accused of sexual harassment by a teenage volunteer after making inappropriate comments about her body, court papers allege.

Franklin Fire Department Chief Raymond Read allegedly asked the 16-year-old about her pubic hair and said he could teach her ‘some skills with your tongue’ in 2018. 

Priya Gupta, now 18, was reportedly subjected to a campaign of sexual harassment by Read when she was volunteering as an emergency services technician, according to court papers obtained by the New York Post.  

Franklin Fire Department Chief Raymond Read allegedly asked the 16-year-old about her pubic hair and said he could teach her ‘some skills with your tongue’ in 2018. File photo above of fire truck

Read, 45, allegedly asked the teenager if her pubic hair is ‘like a landing strip down there? Do you leave a little flavor saver,’ according to the Warren County Superior Court lawsuit from last month.

He reportedly told Gupta he could ‘teach you some skills with your tongue’ and also told her she had a ‘c**k-craving disorder’. 

The Fire Chief also allegedly told her that her ‘skinny’ arms were ‘only good for putting behind your back when you’re hitting it from behind,’ the court papers allege.  

Read is said to have made racist comments about Gupta, who is of Indian descent. He allegedly told another woman that ‘he would never date an Indian’ and ‘didn’t want to smell like curry’.

Read would make the inappropriate comments to the 16-year-old and other female volunteers in front of staff.  He also allegedly commended the Ku Klux Klan as a ‘charity organization’. 

Gupta, who is now a first-year pre-emergency medicine major, has also claimed two further lieutenants and a firefighter sexually harassed her during her voluntary service. 

Read allegedly sent Gupta a series of inappropriate text messages and made dirty comments on her social media posts. This reportedly continued even when Gupta left her voluntary role to go to college.  

He reportedly messaged her on social media after she left for collage, which read: ‘Don’t tempt me, I miss you, god I miss you, the things I’d do to you if I came to see you’, according to the law suit. 

Gupta reported the alleged sexual harassment on August 24 this year to the deputy chief of the Franklin fire department. But the suit alleges her complaint was not taken seriously.  

The teenager had a brief relationship with 26-year-old Lieutenant Vincent Fortunato when she was 17. 

‘Read and Fortunato used their power and authority as plaintiff’s employers to exploit plaintiff and deceive her to began an illicit sexual relationship with defendant Fortunato,’ the court document alleged.  

Gupta is looking for the defendants to receive anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and other sensitivity training.   

‘As alleged in the complaint, Defendants operated a firehouse where its disturbed leaders promoted a culture rife with misogyny and bigotry,’ Gupta’s lawyer, Peter Valenzano, told The New York Post. ‘Ms. Gupta was consumed by an inferno of sexual harassment and discrimination — much of which occurred while she was still a minor.’ 

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