Firefighter arraigned on sexual misconduct charges

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A part-time Liberty Township firefighter has been placed on unpaid leave after he was arrested this week on sex charges.

Co-workers said Jesse Culbertson, 30, joined the fire department about 10 months ago and up to this point, they have not had any problems with him.

Jackson Township police said they were called to the alleged victim’s house earlier this month after her parents discovered the girl, who is 15, had been in a sexual relationship with a much older man. According to court documents, the girl ultimately identified Culbertson, saying they first met last September.

Jackson Township Police Chief Greg Taillon said Culbertson admitted to the relationship during an interview, after which he was arrested. He was arraigned Thursday on a charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and remains at the Mahoning County Jail on a $100,000 bond pending a court hearing March 5.

Taillon said the two met through social media and often exchanged messages through Twitter and texting. According to police reports, the girl told officers Culbertson would pick her up from school and that only one sexual encounter took place at her parent’s home. The rest happened at his apartment in Liberty.

A police report states the victim has been undergoing counseling at a local psychiatric facility and that both she and Culbertson admitted to having contracted the sexually-transmitted disease chlamydia during the relationship.

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