August 18, 2015

Port of Portland firefighter indicted on sexual assault charge in Texas

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Entrance to Portland International Airport

Stella Hwang/FLICKR

Entrance to Portland International Airport

A Port of Portland firefighter has been indicted on a charge that he sexually assaulted a colleague on a training trip to Texas.

The port has also fired Jason McCann, 37, for a violation of workplace policies and port ordinances they say is unrelated to the alleged sexual assault.

McCann was indicted on one count of sexual assault Aug. 12 by a Tarrant County, Tex., grand jury, according to reporting by InvestigateWest.

In April, the port paid a $325,000 settlement to a female firefighter who reported McCann assaulted her during a training trip in September 2014. She was one of 13 members of the Portland Airport Fire & Rescue who traveled to the Dallas/Forth Worth area to receive FAA-required training.

Her husband, also a Portland Airport Fire & Rescue employee, received $15,000 in a separate settlement after filing a workers’ compensation petition, saying he suffered from job-related anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.

Neither McCann nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

The case has raised serious questions about how port officials handled the report of the alleged assault by the female firefighter. A 10-year veteran of the department, she has since resigned.

McCann remained on unpaid leave until his firing Aug. 17, which port spokesman Steve Johnson said is unrelated to the indictment.

“We are not providing further details,” he said, citing privacy rules surrounding personnel discipline.

The port has been unwilling to release documents requested by InvestigateWest regarding its investigation, or internal complaints filed by and about the three employees involved.

On July 11, three days after the alleged assault was first reported, spurring online debate, port officials reviewed social media policies with Fire & Rescue employees, then asked them to sign documents saying they had received the training. The department’s new chief, Craig Funk, also issued a memo asking staff not to talk to journalists.

2 thoughts on “Port of Portland firefighter indicted on sexual assault charge in Texas

  1. As a person who left the port for greener pastures (voluntarily!), I can only say they are getting the scrutiny they so richly deserve, in my opinion. My experience there left me feeling that HR was largely absentia in their duties, leaving the senior staff to run amok. For legal reasons, I’ll spare you the details. People who know my story can only say “Who would do that?!”.

    Can say that I saw managers and employees alike become inured to seeing their peers skirt or flout codes of conduct. The events in this article are but the distillate of a corrupt culture, in my opinion.

    I’m happy now, but I shudder when I look back. I hope those suffering from the port’s attitudes can take solace that others have moved on from what they felt was a horrible, horrible place.

  2. Because the port is well staffed in lawyers, it needs to be said the foregoing comment posted on August 20 at 9:10 a.m. by Chuck Y. expresses merely the opinions of Chuck Y.