DELPHOS – Former Delphos fire chief Kevin Streets, who retired last month amid allegations of sexual harassment in his department, allegedly subjected a young female firefighter to “vulgar and degrading” sexual comments repeated and would have created what independent investigator described as a “hostile working environment” within the ministry.
Streets is one of many firefighters and police in Delphos who have been the subject of an investigation by the city of Delphos into allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. The allegations are contained in a report submitted to city legal counsel, Stacy Pollock, by Donald M. Collins of Collins Dispute Resolution Services. In her report, Collins says the Delphos Fire Department has “a work environment that needs a change” and sexual harassment training “is in order for the city.”
A copy of the report was provided by city officials to The Lima News. In that report, Collins recommended that Streets be removed from his job. Streets declined to be interviewed or answer written questions during the investigation and announced his retirement on August 31.
Most of the allegations in the report focus on Street’s actions and comments towards Bridget Martin, 18, the lone woman in the Delphos Fire Department.
Martin filed a written complaint with the city on July 2 regarding Streets’ behavior towards him. Her complaint was completed on July 25, alleging a more recent incident of misconduct. The allegations include “an atmosphere steeped in sexual jokes and comments from Streets, many of which were directed at (Martin),” according to the Collins report.
The allegations in the report include:
• In June, Streets reportedly asked Martin about sex, knowing she had just returned from vacation with her boyfriend. Firefighter Devin Rabe and Delphos policeman George Closson heard the statement.
• Martin alleges that while on duty at the Putnam County Fair on June 23, Streets approached her from behind and placed a radio strap on her head and lifted her T-shirt and carried attached the radio loop to his jeans. She felt uncomfortable with this interaction.
Also at the fair, Martin alleged that Streets would observe women and ask Martin, “If she was a lesbian, would you fuck her?” “
Witnesses to this conduct, according to the report, included firefighter Ryan Shoemaker, who confirmed that the incident had happened and believes it has happened multiple times. Another witness, Dave Christensen, a volunteer firefighter, confirmed at least one of the interactions between and Streets and Martin.
• Martin claimed that in December 2020, Streets made comments about her after breaking up with her boyfriend and called her a “whore.” Firefighter Platoon Leader Levi Probst has reportedly confirmed the incident and said he believed the comments were out of line.
• On July 20, 2021, Streets allegedly placed her hand between Martin’s legs as she sat on the tailgate of a pickup truck, according to a report.
Another employee complained
Former part-time case clerk and part-time code enforcement officer Nicole Streets, daughter of Kevin Streets, also filed complaints on August 1. She described a work atmosphere where sexual comments were rife.
She produced Snapchat photos of Platoon Leader Scott Warnement that showed a naked man, a pregnant man, and a woman walking with a 3-foot penis under her arm. Warnement admitted to sending these photos and was embarrassed and remorseful. He waived his right to a union lawyer.
In his report, Collins stated that Warnement “was suitably embarrassed by this incident. However, for the record, I think a written or oral warning would be appropriate.
Nicole Streets has since left town employment.
The report says the city of Delphos should review its sexual harassment practices by holding a live sexual harassment training in person for all city employees.
“Any rational individual would say this behavior is unacceptable,” said director of the security service Jamie Mehaffie.
He said the administration is reviewing and revising policies regarding sexual harassment.