GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The Grand Rapids Fire Department Firefighter of the Year for 2011 is being held on sexual assault charges, but his alleged victim told 24 Hour News 8 she doesn't hate him.
Lt. Lee Finlayson was booked into the Kent County Jail Thursday on a warrant out of Pennsylvania.
A Pennsylvania criminal complaint obtained by 24 Hour News 8 shows Finlayson faces six charges:
- First-degree felony rape by force
- First-degree felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by force
- Second-degree felony aggravated indecent assault without consent
- First-degree felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse threat
- Second-degree misdemeanor indecent assault by force
- Second-degree misdemeanor indecent assault without consent
A spokesperson for the Beaver County, Penn. Sheriff's Department told 24 Hour News 8 the alleged incident happened in Brighton Township, which is near Pittsburgh.
The probable cause affidavit in the criminal complaint, which was filed Oct. 24, alleges the incident happened at the victim's residence around 2 a.m. on Sept. 22.
The victim told Brighton Township police that she and Finlayson were lying in bed discussing their relationship when he indicated he wanted to have sex. She told him no, but he forced her to engage in sexual acts with him, according to the criminal complaint.
Finlayson, who is married, left in the morning to return to Michigan.
The victim said she received a text from Finlayson a few days after the incident that read in part, "...Think I've been cruel enough to you already for ten lifetimes. I (RAPED) you and I can't get that out of my head. Then on top of that I was an ass," according to the criminal complaint.
The victim reported the alleged assault on Oct. 3.
Finlayson's alleged victim contacted 24 Hour News 8 Friday evening via phone from her Pennsylvania home.
She called to determine how 24 Hour News 8 obtained the text she received on her cell phone, which she had not realized had been made public in the criminal complaint.
She said she has known Finlayson for over 30 years and said they met in a state other than Michigan or Pennsylvania.
"We were very good friends," she said. "I don't ever want to see him again. I have this crazy need to preserve my life."
"I don't hate him," she added. "I just want him to get some help. There is just something wrong with him. I think he is mentally ill. He's not able to recognize some things are wrong."
She said she feels sorry for Finlayson's children.
"They will have to suffer the embarrassment," she said. "They didn't do anything wrong."
Finlayson appeared before a circuit court judge for a hearing Friday and declined to fight extradition. He will be transferred to Pennsylvania.
One of Finlayson's former girlfriends from West Michigan told 24 Hour News 8 she does not believe he is guilty of the allegations.
"Whatever he's accused of, I'm still his friend next week," said the former girlfriend, who asked not to be identified.
She said they don't fit his character.
"I myself have never felt threatened around him," she said.
She also pointed out Finlayson's passion for fighting fire and training firefighters across the globe.
Finlayson has been with GRFD since 1997 and has been a firefighter for 21 years. He went to Louisiana in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina to help with recovery efforts.
GRFD declined to comment, saying this is a personnel matter.
"We are aware of the situation. We have no comment. This is a personal matter between him and the State of Pennsylvania," GRFD Deputy Chief Gerard Salatka told 24 Hour News 8.
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