By Jim Krencik
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — MEDINA — The man who serves as the Medina Fire Department’s public information officer has been arrested following an investigation into allegations that he engaged in sexual contact with a minor, a felony offense.
Jeffrey R. Elsenheimer was charged Monday with one count of criminal sex act in the third-degree, a class E felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor, after a complaint by a sixteen-year-old male who alleged that he had engaged in sexual contact with Elsenheimer.
Elsenheimer was arraigned Monday in Town of Ridgeway Court and held on $10,000 bail. According to District Attorney Joe Cardone, the felony charge will likely result in the case against Elsenheimer to continue at the county court level.
In a deposition to the Town of Ridgeway Court, the teen said he engaged in a consensual sex act with Elsenheimer, who is 31 years old. It is unlawful for a person above the age of 21 to engage in sexual act with an individual under the age of 17.
Cardone said there was credible evidence of involvement with a minor.
“The law defines endangerment as causing injury to the mental, moral and physical welfare of a child — this act was caused injury to his welfare (in all three areas),” Cardone said.
According to the deposition, the teen knew Elsenheimer first through a familial connection to the fire department. The deponent’s statement continues that he recently began dating a male friend of Elsenheimer, who allegedly proposed a sexual encounter involving all three. The allegedly proposed act did not occur according to the deposition.
The teen said he contacted Elsenheimer last week after breaking up with his boyfriend. “I just wanted someone to talk to and maybe a friend with benefits,” he says in the deposition.
That led to texting between the two and a meeting on Thursday at Elsenheimer’s residence, which allegedly occurred despite the knowledge that the act was not legal.
“I had told Jeff Elsenheimer that I was sixteen years (sic), but was going to be seventeen soon. Jeff, stated that for a while I was going to be jail bait,” the deposition reads.
The teen’s deposition says that he left Elsenheimer’s house after receiving a call from the person who had dropped him off at the residence.
The Medina Police Department was contacted about the incident Saturday, with an initial investigation undertaken with the assistance of the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.
Medina Fire Chief Todd Zinkievich said Monday that Elsenheimer has been suspended with pay in accordance with the village’s union agreement.
While Zinkievich could not comment on Elsenheimer’s future status, he did express that the now-understaffed department would maintain its level of service.
“We’re still staffed enough that even in this time of need we can ensure that every call is covered,” Zinkievich said.
Cardone said the incident did not occur while Elsenheimer was acting a representative of the fire department, he did consider Elsenheimer’s contact with the teen to be somewhat work related.
“But for his employment,” Cardone said. “He would not have had knowledge of the victim.”
Elsenheimer also worked as a part-time dispatcher and as a substitute teacher. He has been relived of his duties in the dispatch office, Undersheriff Steven Smith told WGRZ-TV.
Medina Central School District Superintendent Jeff Evoy confirmed reports that Elsenheimer was on a list of substitute teachers Tuesday, although the district’s records indicate that he had only “sporadically” substituted at Medina over a three year period that ended in the 2010-11 school year.
Evoy said the district is in communication with Cardone’s office and is in consultation with the school’s legal counsel.
Cardone said that his office has not received any indication that this incident was part of a larger run of criminal sexual activity.
“When these things happen often times others will come forward,” Cardone said. “But in this case, none have.”