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Bainbridge Parents Sound Off about Convicted Sex Offender Volunteering as Firefighter

BAINBRIDGE (Tara Morgan)  -- Angry parents packed a council meeting wanting to know why a registered child sex offender is on the volunteer fire department.

It was standing room only Tuesday night at the Bainbridge Village Council meeting.

Mayor Rocky Countryman fielded questions and concerns from parents sounding off after finding out registered sex offender Eric Palmer was a volunteer firefighter for the Bainbridge Volunteer Fire Department.

Countryman says council unanimously voted to allow Palmer to join the department under probationary status until the state approves his re-certification.

Palmer was convicted in 1995 after pleading guilty of attempted rape in Clermont County.

A court clerk told ABC6/FOX28, court documents showed judges notes that read the victim was 14 years old at the time and the defendant a Boy Scouts leader.

He was released from prison in 2010 and lives in Bainbridge.

"People do pay for their crimes but I mean you just can't give certain people certain jobs," said parent John Brill.

The fire chief, who also sits on council, says Palmer is supposed to do limited tasks like cleaning trucks but parents say they saw Palmer handing out candy to children at Christmas.

"We were advised there was no reason why he couldn't be a volunteer," said Mayor Countryman.

The mayor claimed there was a full background check but admitted more investigation was needed.

She plans to hold a public hearing in the spring.
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