LIMA — A spokesman for the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on Thursday said a charge of gross sexual imposition against a Lima firefighter has been dismissed.
Gilbert Frew, who has been on paid administrative leave for nearly a year, will return to his job on Friday, according to city officials.
Assistant Prosecutor Tony Miller said that after consulting with the young alleged victim and her family on Wednesday evening it was determined that it was “in their best interests” that the third-degree felony charge against Frew be dismissed.
Frew, 42, was indicted by a grand jury in August of last year on two counts of gross sexual imposition and stood trial on those charges earlier this year.
Jurors deliberated for more than eight hours March 27 before returning a lone not guilty verdict against Frew, a fireman employed by the City of Lima who prosecutors claimed had inappropriately fondled two young girls. Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on the remaining count, and a mistrial was declared.
Following the verdicts, Miller said his office would consider all options on how to proceed with the one count on which jurors were hung.
The two alleged victims in the case, ages 15 and 11, took the witness stand in March and told jurors of frequent instances of unwanted touches to their breasts, buttocks and vaginal areas during “massages” or “back rubs” administered by Frew, at their request. The two counts of gross sexual imposition against Frew differed only in reference to the age of the alleged victims.
On Thursday, Miller said the alleged victim was included in the decision to dismiss the remaining charge against Frew.
“We still firmly believe that Mr. Frew behaved inappropriately, but the well-being of the victim is our primary concern,” Miller said.
Lima City Law Director Tony Geiger said “from a legal standpoint, there are no other issues pending” that would keep Frew from being reinstated to his firefighter’s position.
Lima Fire Chief Bruce Black confirmed on Thursday that Frew, who has been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 20 of last year, was scheduled to report to work today.
Frew, who resided in Spencerville when the alleged acts took place, denied intentionally touching either of the two girls inappropriately. He told jurors his hands may have touched some private areas on the girls’ bodies “accidentally” but never for the purpose of sexual gratification.
Frew was hired by the city as a firefighter in 2003.