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Wilmington firefighter fired after sex crime arrest

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington firefighter has been fired after being arrested recently in Virginia on multiple counts, including a sex crime.

Fairfax County Police say Robert Thomas Hester of Elizabethtown is charged with inanimate object sexual penetration and destruction of property.

The Fairfax County Adult Detention Center says Hester is being held without bond. The jail says he was in court today and is due back in court May 23.

Police say Hester was arrested in neighboring Loudon County, VA, on March 21 on a warrant for the destruction of property charge. A police spokesman says the charges stem from an incident at the Hyatt Hotel in Reston, VA, which is part of Fairfax County, the night of March 19 and reported the next day. Fairfax County officers later charged him with the sex crime against a 35-year-old woman they say Hester knew.

Police say Hester told them he was in Virginia sightseeing.

The City of Wilmington fired Hester, who was a master firefighter, April 15, according to city spokeswoman Malissa Talbert. Hester had worked for the city since November 2000 and was stationed at the Seagate Fire Station with an annual salary of $39,628, Talbert said.

Talbert said the city fired Hester for violating city policy based on his inability to return to work. According to city policy, employees cannot have more than three consecutive days of unexcused absences. She said the incident involving Hester was not work-related, nor did it occur while on duty for the city.

Talbert says she believes Hester has appealed his firing.

Under Virginia law, the crime of inanimate object sexual penetration carries a penalty of five years to life in prison.

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