Ex-fire official gets probation for unlawful sex with minor

John A. Metheny

DOVER — A former state and local fire official received probation Wednesday morning after admitting to misdemeanor third-degree unlawful sexual contact involving an underage girl.

John A. Metheny, of Hartly, entered the guilty plea in Kent County Superior Court and was immediately sentenced to one year at Level III probation followed by a year at Level II. A fine of up to $2,300 was possible along with a year in prison.

Other charges were not further prosecuted.

Police investigation began in May 2017 after a 17-year-old girl claimed to be groped multiple times between November 2016 and April 2017. Some of the reported incidents supposedly occurred at the Hartly Volunteer Company, according to the juvenile.

Metheny told the Court he entered the plea knowingly and voluntarily after consulting with attorney Zachary George. He declined further comment beyond acknowledging the ramifications of the plea. Deputy Attorney General Kathleen Dickerson prosecuted the case.

Following the plea, Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. ordered the defendant to register as a sex offender and complete a sexual counseling and treatment program.

According to state guidelines, Level III probation is defined as:

“Intensive supervision entails at least the equivalent of one hour of supervision per day and no more than 56 hours of supervision per week. The minimum of one hour of supervision per day is achieved through direct offender contact, collateral contact, verification of each offender’s activities (e.g., residence, employment, training and school), and performance with court-ordered treatment and Community Service.

“The emphasis is on supervision through increased community contacts.”

Level II is the state’s standard probation/parole supervision program. According to state guidelines, “Offenders on Level II supervision are to meet with their Probation Officer on a regular schedule to comply with contact requirements based on risks/needs assessments. Level II Probation/parole Officers serve in the Traditional roles of counseling.”

Metheny was formerly Hartly VFC vice president and Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association treasurer when arrested. He is no longer listed in those positions online.

He was also past president of the DVFA, Delaware State Fire Chief’s Association and the Del-Mar-Va Volunteer Firemen’s Association, and has instructed at the Delaware State Fire School since 1970.

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