AUSTIN - Amid an avalanche of sexual harassment claims involving various industries nationally -- Austin fire union officials will have a news conference Monday about issues they say their female firefighters face.
The fire union president told KVUE's and the Austin American-Statesman's Tony Plohetski that multiple female members of the department will address at the news conference what they say is a lack of accountability for the department brass, which they said puts them at risk.
The press conference stems from the recent arrest of a firefighter on charges that he secretly videotaped a woman in a locker room -- a story KVUE first broke last month.
Former fire Lt. Jim Baker is accused of placing a hidden camera in the female locker room of a Downtown fire station back in September. Baker, who has been charged with the offense of invasive visual recording, retired from the Austin Fire Department after police began investigating the allegation against him. Baker is now out of jail on bond. In 2013, some of Baker's peers claimed that they saw him improperly touching women's breasts while performing medical assessments as a first responder.
As KVUE first reported, the union said the department didn't do enough to investigate those claims -- an issue they will address at Monday's news conference.
AFD officials, however, said they did in fact address those claims at the time by sending the complaints to the medical director who found no wrongdoing by Lt. Baker. The department said it doesn't want comment further on Baker because of the pending case.
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