NJ volunteer firefighter says instructor beat, choked and raped her

TOMS RIVER, N.J. — A volunteer firefighter who decided to undergo training after her own home burned down says in a lawsuit that her instructor lured her to his house, and then beat, bound, choked and raped her.

A volunteer firefighter who decided to undergo training after her own home burned down says in a lawsuit that her instructor lured her to his house, and then beat, bound, choked and raped her. (Courtesy Robert Fuggi)

The woman said John Syers, who is listed as an instructor at the academy where the woman was training, lured her to his home in New Jersey’s Lacey Township under the guise of showing off his new house, NJ.com reported .

An attorney for the woman, who is named only by her initials in court documents filed Thursday, said Syers attacked his client in September 2018 while showing her his bedroom.

“He proceeded to restrain, beat, burn, sexually assault and strangle (her) over the course of 46 minutes, despite her continuous pleas for him to stop,” Robert R. Fuggi Jr. said in a prepared statement.

NJ.com spoke to Syers briefly, and he referred questions to his attorney, Stephen McGuckin. A message was left with McGuckin seeking comment.

On the day of the assault, Syers and the woman shared a consensual kiss, according to the lawsuit. The suit says the woman pulled away and withdrew her “consent for sexual contact.” That, she said, is when Syers pinned her to his bed, strangled her, poured some kind of substance on her and repeatedly sexually assaulted her, the suit states.

The woman said she went to a medical center the text morning and was administered a rape test. Her lawyer said she has a restraining order against Syers.

The lawsuit also alleges that Ocean County officials failed to properly train, supervise and protect employees against Syers.

The alleged victim became a volunteer firefighter in Seaside Heights after her own home burned down. She had been training with the Ocean County Fire Academy in Waretown.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has acknowledged an ongoing investigation. Officials in Ocean County did not return a call seeking comment from NJ.com.

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