Thorpe firefighter accused of groping 14-year-old girl
Jim Thorpe police detective Lee Marzen leads Charles “Chucky” Leinthall Jr. into District Judge Eric Schrantz’s office Thursday afternoon to face charges of unlawful contact with a minor and other charges.
Police have accused a suspended Jim Thorpe firefighter of inappropriately touching a 14-year-old girl while they were both at the fire station during training, and threatening her if she told anyone.
Charles “Chucky” Leinthall Jr., 52, of West Broadway, was arraigned and jailed Thursday on charges of inappropriate contact with a minor and indecent assault of a person under age 16.
Leinthall was suspended from the fire department following the accusation, and his access to any fire department buildings has been revoked, according to Jim Thorpe Fire Chief Vince Yaich.
The alleged contact occurred inside Fairview Hose Company at Ninth and School streets on the night of Nov. 5, while firefighters were conducting training.
On that evening, police said Leinthall touched the girl’s buttocks and crotch, and made a lewd comment toward her. He then allegedly threatened the girl if she told anyone.
According to court documents, the first incident occurred inside a firetruck. Leinthall was having a conversation with several people who were sitting in the firetruck when he said that he would welcome it if the girl wanted to perform a sex act on him.
Leinthall shut the door to the firetruck and walked away. A short time later, however, while the victim was still inside the truck with her boyfriend, Leinthall opened the door, and allegedly hit the victim and touched her. He then closed the door, laughing.
Later, after the victim got out of the fire engine, and the firefighters were training, court papers say he grabbed her again as she walked toward an office inside the station. The victim continued walking away from Leinthall and went inside the office.
A few minutes later, Leinthall came into the office and threatened the victim. She said that he used expletives to state that she shouldn’t tell anyone about the alleged contact.
On Nov. 6, a Jim Thorpe Police Department detective interviewed Leinthall. Leinthall allegedly admitted to touching the victim’s buttocks and crotch. He also admitted to asking the victim if she would perform a sex act. He asked if he could be reinstated to the fire department, because he had been suspended following the incident.
Leinthall was arraigned Thursday on charges of indecent assault of a person less than 16-years-old, unlawful contact with a minor and stalking.
He was sent to Carbon County Correctional Facility with bail set at $40,000. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 21.