Firefighter reinstated in Wilmington

Staff report

October 11, 2013

WILMINGTON — A 13-year veteran firefighter with the Wilmington Fire Department has been reinstated after he was cleared of two sexual assault charges.

Robert Hester, who resides in Elizabethtown and has served as a volunteer with the Elizabethtown Fire Department for a number of years, was arrested earlier this year and charged with the rape of a woman at Hyatt Hotel in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Because Hester was arrested and placed in jail, the city of Wilmington terminated his employment with the fire department because he was in violation of the city’s attendance policy.

Hester, however, went through the court process and, recently, was cleared of all charges. On Wednesday, he was reinstated to his position during a civil service hearing, but was not awarded back pay.

In August, a jury found Hester not guilty on one count each of abduction with intent to defile and one count of sexual penetration with an object by force. The jury, however, was not able to reach a verdict in a third charge, which resulted in a mistrial.

Hester, who had been stationed at the Seagate Fire Station in Wilmington, has been employed by the Wilmington Fire Department since November 2000.