According to released court papers, a black FDNY rookie says he was “terrified” that a fellow firefighter would rape him after a homoerotic hazing by a naked coworker.
In a deposition filed in court, Gordon Springs, 28, claimed that he was “sexually assaulted” and humiliated on his first day at Ladder Co. 35/Engine Co. 40.
Springs says him and three other rookies who were fresh out of the Fire Academy were ushered to the gym where firefighter Peter Grillo “gave me an aggressive push” and whispered, “This house is really gay”.
When he saw that all the firefighters were naked, he said, he tried to leave, but someone held the door shut to block his exit.
“All I could hear is someone yelling orders, ‘Lay on the bench, lay on the bench,’ ” Springs testified. “I had no idea what was going on, what could have been done to me. I have never been held hostage in a room before.”
Obeying commands to lay on his back and lift dumbbells, he said, ex-Marine firefighter Pedro Aristy hovered over him.
“He crouched, he crouched and at that point there was contact made with his penis and his balls on my forehead,” Springs said, adding that Aristy’s genitals tapped him twice.
Another black rookie, Ian Wilson, was ordered to use his hands to push the buttocks of a nude firefighter doing pull-ups, he testified.
Aristy warned Springs not to report the incident: “He told me he could punch me in my face and there was nothing I can do about it.”
Aristy also taunted him, “ ‘I know you would like my balls in your mouth,’ ” Springs said. “I was terrified … I believe that Pedro Aristy was — his goal was to try to rape me.”
Springs said Aristy often asked him, “What are you?” in reference to his skin color: “Pedro made it clear to everyone who asked my race that I was ‘a mixed bag of sh-t,’ ” he said.
In his deposition, Aristy, 40, denied his genitals ever touched Springs, saying he was at a distance, “leaning against the wall.” He said others referred to Springs — and even himself — as a “s–tbag.”
In another incident that June, other firefighters allegedly dumped buckets of water and bread crumbs on Springs as he climbed the firehouse pole. Springs plunged to the ground, injuring his back.
After filing complaints with the FDNY, Springs said he found his mattress missing and metal screws in his boots, which he believes was retaliation. A doctor has diagnosed Springs with PTSD and prescribed medications for anxiety, depression and panic attacks.
His testimony was filed in US District Court in Manhattan by the city, which is seeking to have his lawsuit dismissed.
Springs’ lawyer, Paul Liggieri, said Aristy and the other defendants “are covering for each other instead of coming forward with the truth.”
He added, “There is no doubt that a sexual assault occurred against my client. There is no doubt that he was abused further for complaining about it.”
Springs is seeking unspecified damages.