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Judge bars release of report on firefighter

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A federal judge has barred the release of an internal investigative report involving a former Salt Lake firefighter who is accused in a lawsuit of sexually molesting an Arizona woman.

The unusual federal intervention in a State Government Records and Management Act dis-pute came during a flurry of motions and behind-the-scenes discussions Friday in a civil rights case against Sam Urie and Salt Lake City.Roxana Wollam, Tempe, Ariz., filed suit against Urie on June 4, accusing the former firefighter of forcibly taking her to a secluded spot outside the city and fondling her.

According to the suit, Wollam, who was in Salt Lake City to attend a business convention, met Urie after she attempted to re-sus-citate a drowning victim at the Shiloh Inn Hotel swimming pool on Aug. 24, 1997.

She said in the suit that Urie, representing himself as a fire captain, contacted her the next day and said he needed more information about the incident. After their meeting on Aug. 27, Urie offered to drive her back to her hotel.

"While returning the plaintiff to the hotel, defendant Urie detained the plaintiff against her will and took her to a secluded spot outside the city and, against the plaintiff's will and consent, forced himself upon her and touched the plaintiff in an offensive and sexual manner," the suit said.

Wollam said in the suit that she later called the fire department to complain and was told by Battalion Chief Tim Hynes that there had been similar problems in the past with Urie.

Originally filed in state court, the lawsuit was moved to U.S. District Court on Friday. The same day, attorneys took measures to prevent the release of the fire department's internal investigative report on the alleged incident.

The action came after a Salt Lake Tribune reporter filed a request for the document under Utah's records management law (GRAMA). Deputy Salt Lake City Attorney Steven W. Allred notified Urie's lawyers that the report would be released on June 17 "unless ordered by the court not to." He later agreed to postpone the release until Friday.

Attorney Brent D. Ward then filed a motion for a temporary restraining order, arguing the release of the document would "cause Urie to suffer irreparable harm."

He also said Salt Lake City would suffer no harm if the documents were sealed "until such time as the court can entertain the merits of the release of the information."

In an accompanying affidavit, Urie said the internal investigation by city Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Frank Fraser "contained information about me and my personal affairs which I do not want to be shared with the public or with any other individuals."

Urie also contends the report is "not totally accurate and contains materials and information which are not factually correct." He said if the information is made public, it would damage his reputation and his ability to earn a living.

Urie resigned from the fire department in February.

After considering the motion and supporting arguments and affidavits, U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball signed an order Friday morning barring Salt Lake City, its employees and attorneys from "publishing, disseminating or otherwise distributing" the results of the fire department's internal investigation of Urie. The order is to remain in effect until 5 p.m. June 29.