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A former Spencer County volunteer firefighter is set to go to trial this summer after being accused of raping a teenage girl at one of the Taylorsville-Spencer County fire stations.
Joshua M. Crowe, 22, of the 200 block of Sugarberry Lane in Taylorsville, was indicted on a charge of third-degree rape in early December 2012, when, according to the indictment, “on or about May 28, 2012, [Crowe] being 21 years old or more ... engag[ed] in sexual intercourse with a person less than 16 years old.”
Crowe appeared in Spencer Circuit Court on March 21 at which time Public Defense Attorney Stephen Wright told Judge Charles Hickman that he and his client had been in negotiations with Commonwealth’s Attorney Laura Donnell, but that no agreement had been reached.
A trial date was set for July 18-19 with a final pretrial conference scheduled for June 20.
According to court records, both Crowe and the victim told police the two of them had sex in the bedroom area of Station No. 3, which is located in Waterford, on Memorial Day last year.
Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Chief Nathan Nation said when he was made aware of the alleged incident, in early June 2012, he reported it to then-Spencer County Sheriff’s Deputy Damon Jewell. Jewell, along with Deputy Todd Tinsley, began an investigation.
“I have a duty and responsibility to the fire department and the law to turn concerns over to the proper agency,” Nation said.
Crowe was immediately suspended from the fire department and within a week, turned in his resignation, Nation said.
“[The situation] was dealt with from an administrative standpoint, and once we understood the legal concern — that it was more than an administrative issue — I notified Deputy Jewell.”
According to court records, Jewell was notified by Nation on June 3 that Crowe had sex with a 15-year-old female at Station 3.
Two days later, Jewell writes that he and Tinsley went and notified the girl’s parents of the incident.
Nation said having underage visitors at the fire station is against department policy. Visitors are to be 18 or older, if not accompanied by an adult, Nation said.
“Obviously, this is not something we condone,” he said.
Donnell, the Commonwealth’s Attorney, said the matter was turned over to her office at the end of August 2012, which means it would have been put on the grand jury docket for October.
However, Donnell said because it was a direct submission from the deputies and not a matter than went through Spencer District Court, she requested the deputies gather more information. Their investigation was not complete until November, she said.
“You want to investigate thoroughly before the indictment,” she said. “You want to go forward with the strongest case that you have.”
Donnell said she believes officials with the fire department acted in an appropriate and timely manner. She also said it was “not that uncommon” for the process to take several months before an indictment.
According to the narrative portion of a crime supplement in the court file, Tinsley had various conversations with Crowe in October and November 2012 during which Crowe expressed his frustrations that the case was “dragging out.”
The crime supplement references a text message between Crowe and a friend where Crowe expressed his frustrations saying, “If I had a gun right now, I would probably start blowing people’s brains out. Just saying.”
Tinsley met up with Crowe to discuss the text message and Crowe said he was just upset and that “he had no intentions of harming himself, much less anyone else,” according to court records.
In the crime supplement, Tinsley writes that Crowe told him he thought the victim “was at least 17” and that their sexual intercourse was consensual. However, a Facebook chat log between the two from May 16 shows the victim told Crowe, “When im sixteen i can date,” implying that he would have known her age before the alleged incident occurred.