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Three settle suits

January 15, 2014
By BILL PITCHER , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Three women who accused an emergency medical technician of fondling them while they were being treated in an ambulance have settled their lawsuits against him and his employer.

The women sued Donald Frye of Broadalbin and the Gloversville-based Ambulance Service of Fulton County in state Supreme Court in three separate cases last year. Stipulations of discontinuance, which marked the end of the cases, were filed in the Fulton County clerk's office Jan. 3.

Authorities said three victims accused Frye of inappropriate contact, the first in 2011. In separate lawsuits filed last year, the women said Frye touched them and penetrated them, calling it a "body cavity search" or "examination."

Under a plea arrangement in the summer, Frye pleaded guilty to one of two counts of forcible touching, and authorities closed the investigation into the third alleged incident. Frye was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation.

The Leader-Herald is not naming the plaintiffs because they are victims of sex crimes and have not consented to be named.

The women's attorney, Robert Abdella of Gloversville, said he cannot comment on the cases because all parties are bound by a confidentiality agreement. Frye's attorney, Peter Moschetti of Latham, did not return a phone message seeking comment. Albany attorney Terrence Hannigan, who represented the Ambulance Service of Fulton County, said he was unable to comment.

According to court documents, Frye would not have been responsible for making any payments, even if he'd been found liable in any of the lawsuits.

Frye and his wife, Alana, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in June, claiming $73,428 in unsecured debt listed in the bankruptcy filing, which included a repossessed boat and vehicle, and credit card and student loan debt, according to court papers.

U.S. District Court Judge Diane Davis in Utica signed an order discharging his financial liability in the cases Sept. 24, even though none of the cases had gone to trial.

The Fryes' attorney, Jason Brott of Johnstown, argued in court papers the potential judgements could be discharged under federal bankruptcy law because Donald Frye did not have a "willful and malicious intent to injure" the women.

"While the acts alleged to have been committed by the defendant in and of themselves may appear to be intentional to the United States Bankruptcy Court, there was no willful and malicious intent to injure by the defendant that would result in this court making a finding that the claim of the plaintiff is nondischargeable," Brott wrote in court papers.

Frye also was a Gloversville firefighter, who earned $62,640 from the city in 2012, according to the Empire Center, which tracks public spending. He was fired from both jobs in 2013. Because the ambulance service is a private entity, that salary was unavailable.

 
 

 

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