New London deputy fire chief on leave as city investigates sexual harassment allegation
New London ― The city has hired an outside law firm to investigate claims of sexual harassment that led to the city’s deputy fire chief being placed on paid administrative leave.
Deputy Chief Jonathan Paige was placed on paid administrative leave on March 23, the same day the allegations were brought forward.
Fire Chief Thomas Curcio notified Paige of his administrative leave by a letter that day.
“On Thursday, March 23, 2023, information about possible incidents of sexual harassment by you was provided to this Department,” the letter reads.
The Day obtained the letter through a Freedom of Information request.
Paige, according to the notice, was placed on leave in accordance with the City of New London Personnel and Administrative Policies, Rule and Procedures, Policy 1.10, Section 11c, which states that “when an employee is charged with a crime, or whose conduct outside of work is such that it would bring disrepute to the City and/or affect the employee’s work for the City, that employee may be placed on paid administrative leave, only until such time as a hearing on the issue can be held.”
Paige, a highly decorated firefighter who has worked for the city since 1996, was ordered to turn over his badge, fire department identification and city vehicle. He also was directed to have no contact with a list of people whose names are redacted from the letter obtained by The Day. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The city has not released any details of the alleged incidents.
Curcio declined comment on the issue. Mayor Michael Passero said the city has hired the Hartford law firm Rose Kallor to conduct an independent investigation. Passero said the investigation would proceed similar to the one conducted when New London Police Chief Brian Wright was accused of sexual harassment by a member of the department. Wright was out on paid administrative leave for more than a month before he was returned to duty and cleared of any wrongdoing.