BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A former Boston firefighter was sentenced Friday to two years of supervised probation for sexually assaulting a female colleague at a firehouse.
A Boston judge also ordered David Sanchez to undergo counseling and, if deemed necessary by state officials, to register as a sex offender.
Sanchez was convicted of assault and battery and indecent assault and battery following a two-day trial last week.
Prosecutors said Sanchez tried to kiss his colleague Nathalie Fontanez and assaulted her in a Jamaica Plain firehouse before she was able to escape in January 2018.
During Friday’s sentencing in West Roxbury Municipal Court, Fontanez said she’s dealt with depression the last two years and still relives the trauma of that night. She also said Boston residents “deserve better” from their first-responders.
In an interview with WBZ-TV, Fontanez said she hopes her story can help change the culture inside firehouses everywhere. She said she’s ready to put the experience behind her and return to work.
“I knew all along what happened, and having a group of my peers see that as well is where I can pick up and move on with my life,” she said.
Fontanez said in her impact statement in court that her fellow firefighters did not support her after the incident.
“My fellow firemen would not acknowledge me and ignored me in many instances where I tried to reach out,” she said.
Sanchez’s attorney, Isaac Borenstein, arguing for leniency, said his client is a “decorated Marine” and father who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and should not be defined by “this terrible incident.”
“I think the jury was wrong in this case and we’re going to pursue him being acquitted,” Borenstein said.
Fontanez is also suing the City of Boston and the fire department over its handling of the incident. She is one of only 17 women on the force, and said she is concerned for her safety now that she is returning to where the assault happened.
“I am apprehensive about some of my colleagues and their behavior towards me,” she said. “But I have faith.”
The Boston Fire Department said they do not comment on ongoing lawsuits.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)