Possible termination for firefighter accused of sexual assault

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If proven guilty by the CNMI justice system, the firefighter who was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a coworker will also be sacked, according to Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Commissioner Dennis Mendiola, who emphasized the department’s zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

In an interview with Mendiola about the recent arrest of firefighter Peter Litulumar, he stated that the department has zero tolerance for sexual mistreatment and if the individual is found in violation, the department will terminate him immediately.

“We don’t condone any sexual mistreatment of any employee, male or female. We take this case seriously and, depending on what comes out of the investigation and if found in violation, then we’re going to take further action, and I can assure you that it’ll be termination. We’re going to continue to advocate for victims and make sure that they get their due process. That’s pretty much my policy. We won’t accept [this] in the department,” he said.

Mendiola stressed that the department stands firm on its policy of zero sexual misconduct and will take the appropriate actions, depending on the outcome of the investigation.

As a result of this recent incident, Mendiola said the department is working with the Office of Personnel Management to reinstate sexual harassment classes that will reemphasize the department’s guidelines against sexual harassment.

“Sometimes it just starts off with just the guys and gals joking around. It’s the routine in the workplace but then there’s that line where we don’t cross. So I think we need to go back and get some training just so that everybody can understand what’s that line like, and it is unacceptable to cross this line. As soon as [we] get confirmation dates, the entire department is going to go through that training again,” Mendiola said.

In addition, Mendiola said he has already made arrangements to ensure that if Litulumar makes bail and is given consent to return to work pending trial, he and the victim will not cross paths.

“Currently we already transferred the lady to a different division. Likewise, the individual will be transferred to administrative duties pending adverse action, so they won’t come across each other. We can’t just jump the gun and take action and then we have to backpedal. So, again, we’re waiting on that investigation to the conclude,” he said.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, Litulumar was arrested last Thursday for sexual assault in the second degree after a co-worker alleged that he came to work drunk and sexually assaulted her while she was taking a nap.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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