Ex-Fire Chief Accused of Indecent Assault on Former Friend

A Massachusetts fire chief abruptly retired last month just days after getting a new contract amid accusations of assault.

"I didn't want this to happen to another person," said 23-year-old Ryan Williams of Kingston. "I didn't want them to feel my pain."

Williams is coming forward with his accusations against former Kingston Fire Chief Robert Heath, now that charges of indecent assault and battery have been filed against the man he used to consider a friend.

Williams says on Feb. 9, the then-chief sexually assaulted him at a home during a snowstorm.

"[Heath] started to take off his shirt, came over to me, started to force kiss me," Williams said. "He shoved his hands down my pants."

Williams said he was in shock and had never expected the married father of three to do that. He says he reported it to police the next day.

"He had texted me afterwards, he told me that he was sorry for what he did and sorry for destroying our friendship, and that it would never happen again," Williams said.

Documents show Kingston Selectwoman Susan Munford reported the incident to the chairman of the board of selectmen Feb. 10.

"Five days later, I hadn't heard any action, any meetings, so I did a follow-up text to the chairman of the board of selectman, and I learned the next day that they contacted the department head and brought him in for a meeting," Munford said.

Chief Heath had just been given a new three year contract on Feb. 7, but he abruptly retired the day after that meeting.

"I don't understand why action wasn't taken sooner," Munford said.

NBC Boston reached out to Heath and the chair of the board of selectmen with no response. We then reached out to the fire department, which referred us to the town administrator. The town administrator referred us to the district attorney. The district attorney's office said until Heath is arraigned on March 16, it remains a town matter and it cannot comment.

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