A second person from the Epsom fire department is suing the town.
Matthew Moulton, a former full-time fire captain with the department, alleges he was retaliated against for refusing to turn in falsified time sheets for fire chief R. Steward Yeaton – who is a separate defendant in the suit – and for sticking up for a fellow firefighter that had complained of sexual harassment by a town police officer.
An employee with the Epsom Fire Department since 2003, Moulton resigned at a select board meeting in April, publicly accusing Yeaton of mismanagement and of doing nothing to address repeated incidents of sexual harassment. Yeaton works a part-time, 20-hour week for the department, according the suit.
In a separate suit filed in 2015, Richard Bilodeau, a firefighter and the town’s emergency management director, accuses the town and Epsom police officer Brian Michael of retaliating against him after he complained of sexual harassment by Michael. Moulton has filed an affidavit supporting many of Bilodeau’s claims. The claims against Michael for retaliation have been dismissed, but the suit against the town is ongoing and was scheduled for jury selection this summer.
Now, in an 11-page complaint, Moulton accuses Yeaton of depriving him of paid training time, ridiculing him at emergency scenes and excluding him from department meetings.
According to the suit, Moulton intervened in support of Bilodeau when he witnessed him being sexually harassed by police officer Michael in 2010. And in 2011, Moulton, who was in charge of payroll for the department, began refusing to submit Yeaton’s timesheets, which he claims were over-inflated. Moulton says Yeaton’s campaign of harassment started after November 2010, and then increased in intensity.
Moulton’s public resignation was apparently precipitated by an all-staff meeting called by Yeaton on April 19, in which Moulton was excluded and the remainder of his supervisory responsibilities reassigned to others.
“Moulton reasonably believed he could no longer endure the harassment, as aforesaid, by Chief Yeaton, and on April 24, 2017, Moulton resigned from employment involuntarily,” his attorneys, Chuck Douglas and George Campbell, of Douglas, Leonard & Garvey in Concord, write in the complaint.
The select board members were aware of the rising tensions in the department, according to the suit. Moulton wrote to them on Aug. 2, 2016, according to court filings, to detail his “intolerable work conditions.” The selectmen didn’t take any action on the complaints, according to the suit.
“As a result of Yeaton’s pattern of retaliatory and harassing conduct against Moulton, and as a result of the Town’s failure or refusal to intervene, Moulton has been damaged in the loss of his job and benefits, loss of future income, diminution in the value of his pension, infliction of emotional distress with physical manifestations, and the present and future cost of treatment therefor,” Moulton’s attorneys wrote.
Select board Chairman Don Harty said he couldn’t say much beyond acknowledging the suit.
“Yes, a lawsuit has been filed by Matt. You see what he’s put into it. And the town will deal with it,” he said. “Pretty much, because it’s pending litigation, I can’t comment any further.”
(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
© Copyright, 2017, Concord Monitor
Original story here.