S.F. firefighter faces dismissal for sex charges

A San Francisco firefighter who has kept his job for more than a year after being charged with sexual assault now faces termination after his certification as an emergency medical technician was revoked.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White moved to fire Timothy Gutierrez in a July 27 letter to the San Francisco Fire Commission. On Thursday, the commission officially received the charges in its meeting agenda and is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks.

Gutierrez, a Fairfield resident who has worked for the San Francisco Fire Department for nearly three years, was charged with sexual assault in March 2006, according to Solano County court documents. He remained at his job, but was moved to an assignment at a low-traffic San Francisco fire station.

Shortly before he was charged with a separate count of indecent exposure in May this year, also in Solano County, Gutierrez went on voluntary leave from the fire department.

“He is now working at the Bureau of Fire Prevention, days, at a desk with direct supervision,” Hayes-White said Thursday. “He’s no longer working in a capacity where he’s providing medical care to the public.”

Gutierrez has a history of domestic violence allegations against him, including one restraining order in Solano County alleging abuse. He has one previous conviction on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, but that conviction was sealed as part of a plea deal in Solano County.

“We need to make sure we’re mindful of the judicial process, in that, although we have been following this very, very closely, we do subscribe to ‘innocent until proven guilty,’” Hayes-White said Thursday.

After the latest charge, for indecent exposure, Gutierrez’s Solano County-issued emergency medical technician certificate was suspended. It was later permanently revoked after an investigative hearing, said Michael Frenn, head of the Solano County Emergency Medical Services Cooperative.

Gutierrez then applied for an EMT certificate with the state Fire Marshal’s Office, but fire marshal spokesman Mike Jarvis said Thursday that his application was denied after the office consulted with Solano County.

On July 27, Hayes-White wrote a letter to the Fire Commission calling for Gutierrez’s ouster, “based on this failure to maintain the minimum qualifications for his position.” Firefighters are required to be certified as emergency medical technicians.

Criminal charges against Gutierrez are still pending in Solano County. His attorney, Denis Honeychurch, did not return calls for comment Thursday.

Gutierrez first came to work for the San Francisco Fire Department in October 2004 after The City took over the Hunters Point shipyard. He and three others were working for the federal government as firefighters there and were absorbed into the department.

amartin@examiner.com

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