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Former New Cumberland firefighter will serve up to 10 years for sexually assaulting teenage junior firefighter in 2019

James Ainsworth III, 26, was sentenced this week in Cumberland County Court after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated indecent assault of a person less than 16
Credit: Cumberland County District Attorney's Office
James Ainsworth III

NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. — A former New Cumberland volunteer fire police officer will serve up to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a teenage boy who was a junior firefighter in 2019, court records show.

James W. Ainsworth III, 26, of New Oxford, pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated indecent assault of a person less than 16 years of age in Cumberland County Court. He was sentenced to a prison term of 3 to 10 years by Judge Jessica E. Brewbaker in exchange for his plea.

Ainsworth was initially charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, criminal attempt - involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, sexual assault by volunteer or employee of nonprofit and corruption of minors, court documents show.

He was accused of sexually assaulting the victim while serving with the New Cumberland Fire Department in 2019. Police began investigating in August of that year after the fire department's deputy fire chief reported that he received a complaint from the victim about concerns with inappropriate contact with Ainsworth.

The deputy fire chief advised that the junior firefighter was receiving text messages from Ainsworth that made him uncomfortable, according to charging documents filed against Ainsworth.

Police were provided screenshots of the conversation which included Ainsworth allegedly writing, "I miss the time we hanged out after," and in response, the victim said: "I'm not sure if it's a good idea to do again."

The junior firefighter met with police in October 2019 and was asked about the messages and why he didn't think it was a good idea for them hang out again, according to police. The victim allegedly told them Ainsworth had asked him to send him nude photos of himself.

In a second interview with police, the victim said that he wasn't telling the complete truth the first time because his parents would be ashamed and he didn't want anyone's life ruined.

He went on to say that he met Ainsworth at the fire department and got to know him better, adding that at the time, his parents wouldn't let him have a cell phone or social media accounts, which, per Ainsworth, was how he communicated with some of the junior firefighters.

Ainsworth then told the victim that if they were intimate together, he would buy him a cell phone, charging documents allege. 

The two went to Ainsworth's residence, where Ainsworth is accused of performing a sexual act on the victim and trying to have sex with him. Police wrote in charging documents that the junior firefighter yelled "No!" and Ainsworth stopped.

Police met with Ainsworth during the investigation, who allegedly admitted to performing a sexual act on the victim. 

RELATED: Volunteer fire police officer accused of sexually assaulting junior firefighter in New Cumberland