Texas volunteer firefighters charged in 'rite of initiation' assault, cover-up

Five volunteer Texas firefighters were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on charges that they sexually assaulted a man at their fire station as part of a “rite of initiation.”

Two of the men in charge of the Emergency Services District 6 Volunteer Fire Department at Waxahachie were indicted on charges that they attempted to cover up the assault. The Ellis County grand jury also indicted a woman who is accused of recording the incident.

The Dallas Morning News reports the volunteer firemen were arrested in April after being accused of using a sausage to sexually assault a male firefighter in January.

In the recording, the men can be heard “laughing with excitement” as the victim was allegedly held down and bent over a couch, the newspaper reported in April. Court records say they tried to use a broomstick at first, but someone else had the idea to use a chorizo sausage.

Ellis County District Attorney Patrick Wilson told the newspaper in April that the case looks to be the result of a “rite of initiation” rather than a hazing. Firefighters couldn’t be arrested on hazing charges because the statute only applies to high school students, the newspaper reports.

Lt. Alec Chase Miller, fire Lt. Keith Edward Wisakowski and firefighters Casey Joe Stafford, Preston Thomas Peyrot and Blake Jerold Tucker were charged with first-degree felony aggravated sexual assault. Brittany Leanne Parten was charged with second-degree felony aggravated sexual assault and Chief Gavin Satterfield and Assistant Chief Williams Getzendaner were charged with first-degree felony witness tampering.

Authorities say Parten was the one who filmed the assault on her cellphone. They also say Satterfield and Getzendaner witnessed the assault but didn’t report the incident.

The Morning News, citing court records, reports Getzendaner instructed the firemen to “keep their mouths shut” and delete the recording because the authorities would get involved if anyone found out about it.

All of the firefighters involved in the incident have been suspended.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.