ELLINGTON -- Last week, in the fallout of the Simon Hessler arrest, Ellington First Selectman Lori Spielman told FOX61 she was unaware of any previous investigations involving Hessler.
Then, on Monday, she released a statement saying she in fact was aware of the investigation. On Tuesday afternoon, FOX61 met up with her, and she explained what happened.
Selectman Spielman said, “When you and I talked, very briefly, I didn’t know what I could say at that time, except it was an active investigation.”
Spielman went on to specifically describe the Hessler investigation in March.
“A homeless girl was looking for a place to stay, Simon Hessler he offered her a place to stay, and in change she had to work for it. That’s hearsay, I took it very seriously, I contacted our sergeant, gave him the information," said Spielman. "I also told the resident that she should call and file a formal complaint, so it’s on record and they can follow up on it. Months later or Sergeant told me that, there was nothing there.”
However, in speaking with soruces in town, we learned of yet another investigation earlier this year in the Ambulance Corp and Explorer Post. This investigation didn’t go to the Connecticut State Police, it went to the high school and then it was turned over to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.
Selectman Spielman was aware if this and explained.
“Leaders of the program, with the rules, working with young children, it’s hard for them to learn how to do the rules, and a couple of them went to the counselor and were complaining about it. Then DCF was called from the school. Which we stopped the program, did a huge investigation, internally, with the town, and also DCF. DCF found nothing there. We also, redesigned the program a little bit, adjusted the bylaws, which we are still working on. And nothing was found of it and we reinstate in the program," said Spielman.
She also said that the DCF investigation was not in any way related to Simon Hessler. And through all this, the First Selectman is still proud and thankful for the volunteer work of the Ambulance Corps and Explorers.
“The post and our ambulance crew have not missed a beat, any calls or anything they are right there, they have been very busy all week, and they are very professional and I don’t know what we would do without them.”
Between the DCF investigation, the March investigation into Hessler, and then his eventual arrest last week, it’s been trying times for the volunteers. But it’s important for everyone to remained focused on the great, literally, lifesaving work the Ellington Volunteer Ambulance Corps deliver every day.