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CHP looks into allegations of firefighter behavior

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POSTED May 30, 2014 8:50 p.m.

SACRAMENTO  (AP) — The California Highway Patrol is investigating whether state firefighters had sex with a woman who later was stabbed to death in the home she shared with a battalion chief, a claim made during the subsequent homicide investigation.

The report, which is so far unsubstantiated, arose during the manhunt for Orville Fleming, a former state battalion chief and training officer who was arrested in connection with the death of the woman, a former escort who became his girlfriend.

Fleming’s estranged wife told sheriff’s investigators and reporters that she had viewed a video showing the victim, Sarah June Douglas, 26, having sex with her husband and other firefighters on fire trucks.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said this week that it has asked the California Highway Patrol to investigate, although authorities say they have not found a video.

Department spokesman Daniel Berlant said the request was made after Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies completed their investigation and arrested Fleming on May 16, two weeks after Douglas’ body was discovered in the home they shared.

Homicide Detective Brian Meux said then that investigators had not found any such video, and Sgt. Lisa Bowman said that is still the case.

“If, by chance, something comes up on an electronic device they may have seized as evidence, then it will be turned over to CalFire,” she said in an email.

Fleming’s wife, Meagan Fleming, did not return a telephone message Friday.

“There is nothing to substantiate the allegations that were made. But still, given the seriousness of the allegations that were made, we thought we had to investigate it,” Berlant said. “If it turns out to be true, we will absolutely take action.”

The Sacramento County district attorney’s office and Orville Fleming’s attorney, Peter Kmeto, said they had no information about a video. Kmeto took the case this week and said information is only beginning to trickle in to his office.

Fleming, who is scheduled to appear in court July 8, has not yet entered a plea to the single charge of murder.

Terry McHale, a spokesman for CDF Firefighters, the union representing department employees, supported the decision to ask for a California Highway Patrol investigation.

“I have no idea if a tape exists and as far as the membership, I have not heard anyone saying that one does,” he said. “But we’ll just let the investigation take place.”

As a matter of agency policy, California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Fran Clader would not confirm that an investigation is underway or say when it might be completed. “On any investigation, we would say it will take as long as necessary,” she said.

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