UTICA – The Utica firefighter who was ordered to give a DNA sample in connection to an alleged lewd act was back in Utica City Court on Thursday, this time for an arraignment.
Richard Forte is accused of masturbating into a female coworker’s turnout gear while on duty Jan. 6 at the District Five firehouse on Van Rensselaer Avenue in Utica. The alleged incident occurred while the female firefighter was out on a call.
Forte had initially refused to submit a DNA sample until he was ordered to by a judge earlier this month.
Forte is charged with the misdemeanors of fourth-degree criminal mischief and third-degree criminal tampering, and he’s also charged with writing a false statement on Jan. 8. Forte was issued a temporary stay away order while the case is pending, and the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office is asking for a permanent order of protection as part of a plea deal.
Forte was offered a plea deal that included pleading guilty to all three charges, and Forte’s attorney, Anthony LaFache, entered a plea of not guilty on all the charges.
Forte has been released on his own recognizance, and he’s scheduled to appear back in Utica City Court on May 21 for pretrial conferencing.