Fallston firehouse sex harassment case broadens

Baltimore County firefighter suspended
Posted at 6:50 PM, Dec 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-13 19:33:54-05

Caught on camera, 22-year old Joshua Burkins, leaving the Harford County District Courthouse with his mother, Baltimore County Fire Captain Angela Hughes.
Burkins is one of four current and former members of the Fallston Volunteer Fire Company who faces charges in connection with allegations of months of homophobic harassment directed at a 17-year-old man inside the firehouse.

RELATED: Suspects named in alleged sex assault bid at firehouse

It is a case that threatens to make recruitment even tougher than it already is among the ranks of volunteers.    

"It's a concern, but when you look at the general recruitment efforts across the country and Maryland and just in Harford County, it's a constant struggle," said Rich Gardiner of the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association. 
Joshua's brother, 21-year-old Andrew Burkins, 20-year-old John Hefner and 19-year old Colby Ogrysko have already been suspended from the Fallston force after a teen member alleged the three men held him down in a bunk one night at the firehouse and attempted to sexually assault him with a pair of wedge-shaped door stops.
The victim continued working side-by-side with the young men without reporting the alleged attack until he claims Joshua Burkins called him from the firehouse a few weeks ago making homophobic comments in a continuing pattern of harassment.
While he was not part of the alleged physical assault, Joshua Burkins also was suspended by the Fallston company, and now, the Baltimore County Fire Department confirms he has also been suspended from the Essex firehouse where he works as an EMT Firefighter.
We're told in addition to his mother, his father, his step-father and an uncle also hold high-ranking positions in Baltimore County's fire operations representing generations of service.

Joshua Burkins suspension is without pay and, the Baltimore County Fire Department is now conducting an internal investigation of its own into the allegations.