HIGHSPIRE, Pa. (WHTM) – An assistant fire chief for Citizen’s Fire Company #1 of Highspire is facing charges and the fire department has been temporarily placed out of service pending a leadership reorganization.

Dustin Schenfeld was charged on two separate criminal dockets; one charged him with one misdemeanor count of indecent exposure from a March 26 incident and a second for a May 4 harassment misdemeanor for allegedly making lewd or threatening statements.

The indecent exposure charge was filed by Middletown Police after Shenfeld allegedly exposed his genitals to a woman he knew. The harassment charge was filed by Highspire Police after investigators say he allegedly made unwanted sexual advances and comments to two victims.

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Some of the inappropriate comments were made over text and Snapchat, but officials say there were reports of alleged lewd comments in the workplace.

“It’s got to rise to a pretty high level for to be criminal harassment, where there’s communication that is making somebody feel violated where you know it’s of a really raw nature,” said Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo.

Shenfield resigned as chief on Tuesday after the charges were made public on Monday.

Chardo tells abc27 the charges appear to be related and could be connected to Shenfeld’s service with the fire department.

“They’re troubling, especially if there are people that were involved in the organization,” said Chardo. “This is somebody that’s in a leadership role.”

According to Borough Manager and Public Safety Director Mark Stonbraker, the decision to temporarily shut down the department was made “in the interest of public safety”

Borough Council President Michael Anderson says the decision is unrelated to and prior to the charges becoming public.

Stonbraker says it comes down to a leadership vacuum where there’s no chief, though he wouldn’t say why that is.

He says the department is relatively small, and relatively inexperienced, with about 18 to 20 members, including junior and probationary members.

The borough is looking to find someone from outside with more experience, hopefully within the next week or so and the lack of volunteers is a big problem.

Stonbraker says surrounding agencies will handle calls within the borough while the fire company is suspended. Members of the department will continue to conduct fundraisers and the social hall remains available for rental.

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Anyone with questions regarding the decision is asked to contact mstonbraker@highspire.org.

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