KINGSTON, MA – The alleged victim of Kingston’s former fire chief has filed a lawsuit against the town alleging negligence for failing to protect him from sexual assault.
The lawsuit has been filed by attorney Tyler H. Fox on behalf of Ryan Williams in advance of former fire chief Robert Heath’s trial on one count of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over, scheduled for April 16 in Plymouth Superior Court.
Williams, who was 23 at the time, has spoken publicly about the incident alleged to have occurred on Feb. 9, 2017, while Heath was working, as detailed in the lawsuit dated Feb. 27 and in court records. Heath resigned as fire chief Feb. 17, 2017. The complaint against Heath was filed March 6, 2017.
“The claims also relate to negligence by the town of Kingston, and various officials thereof, concerning failure to warn Ryan of the reasonable forseeability that Heath would sexually assault him, as well as their failure to inform Ryan that Heath had a prior history of sexual harassment of others, while in the employ of the Fire Department of Kingston,” the lawsuit states.
Selectmen Chairman Elaine Fiore had no comment Tuesday when asked to respond to the lawsuit that names her, the Board of Selectmen, the Kingston Fire Department and Heath as being among those liable for the abuse.
The alleged assault was reported to the Kingston Police the next day. The lawsuit states that Williams decided he wanted Heath prosecuted and told Police Lt. Robert Wells so “after receiving information that there were previous victims of sexual harassment/abuse by Chief Heath.”
The lawsuit also considers liable any employees with prior knowledge of previous instances of sexual harassment/abuse by Heath “for negligence, including but not limited to its supervision of its employees, agents, and servants, and for negligent infliction of emotional distress, and/or for any intentional conduct by Heath and/or any of its employees, agents, servants.”