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D.C. firefighter on leave after abuse charges

A veteran D.C. firefighter is on leave after he was charged with sexually abusing a relative.

Michael J. Rasmussen, 51, of La Plata, was charged on March 6 with second-degree child abuse and two sex offenses. According to court papers, Rasmussen allegedly abused a relative in his La Plata home between 1989, when the relative was 5 years old, and 1996.

The Charles County Sheriff's Office began investigating Rasmussen in October 2009 after another alleged victim contacted the county Department of Social Services to say they had been abused by Rasmussen, authorities said. Officers looking into that allegation found a 1995 report from Rasmussen's relative and reopened the investigation.

The relative allegedly recorded a telephone conversation with Rasmussen in January in which he recalled the abuse and apologized for his past actions, according to court papers.

D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer said Rasmussen has worked for the department for 20 years and was last assigned to its customer service unit. That unit checks fire hydrants and coordinates smoke alarm distribution and testing. He was placed on leave by the agency shortly after his arrest, Piringer said.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for next month.

--Theola Labbé-DeBose

By Theola Labbé-DeBose  |  March 25, 2010; 4:40 PM ET
Categories:  Fires & Fire Safety , The District , Theola Labbé-DeBose  
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