Atlanta firefighters suspended in escort photo scandal

Photos like this one were used to advertise escort services on Backpage.com.

Photos like this one were used to advertise escort services on Backpage.com.

Ten-day suspensions have been handed down against two Atlanta firefighters tied to risqué photos taken at their station and later used to advertise escort services, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Atlanta fire spokesman Cortez Stafford said the suspensions were decided late last week. The firefighters from Station No. 2, however, filed appeals and, as of Tuesday, remained on paid administrative leave.

An internal investigation was triggered last month after the photos — which show women wearing fire gear and straddling trucks in provocative poses — surfaced on Backpage.com, a site used to advertise escort services. In the ads, the photos were accompanied with captions like “Absolutely Astonishing” and “VIP service available all night.”

The fire department has not released the names of the firefighters involved but has said one of them is a lieutenant who was in charge of the station when the photos were taken. Local TV station 11Alive identified that lieutenant as Jathan Dorch.

Stafford said Tuesday he had not personally viewed the investigation’s findings, but he believed the suspensions were connected only to the women being allowed to take photos in the fire station. The suspended firefighters “had nothing to do with what happened after [the women] took the pictures,” Stafford said.

Because the firefighters appealed their suspensions, the probe is still considered open and a copy of the investigation was not available for release, Stafford said.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed previously vowed to fire any city employee who had a role in the scandal. Anne Torres, Reed’s director of communications, said Tuesday the administration is waiting for the outcome of the appeals before considering additional actions against the firefighters.

Fire Station No. 2 is at 1568 Jonesboro Road SE.

–Staff writer Katie Leslie contributed to this article.