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Two Fallston fire company members found guilty of second-degree assault against fellow member

Two of the four people charged last November with attempted rape and assault of a fellow member of Fallston Volunteer Fire & Ambulance Company entered pleas in the case and were sentenced Tuesday.
Two of the four people charged last November with attempted rape and assault of a fellow member of Fallston Volunteer Fire & Ambulance Company entered pleas in the case and were sentenced Tuesday. (Aegis file/Matt Button / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Two of the four people charged last November with attempted rape and assault of a fellow member of Fallston Volunteer Fire & Ambulance Company entered pleas in the case and were sentenced Tuesday.

Andrew Burkins, 21, of the 900 block of Winters Court in Bel Air, and John Hefner, 20, of the 2400 block of Burham Drive in Fallston, entered Alford pleas before retired Harford County Circuit Judge Maurice Baldwin, according to a news release from the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office.

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An Alford plea means neither Burkins nor Hefner admitted guilt, but both agreed the state had enough evidence to convict them in a trial.

Charges against two other fire company members charged in connection with the same incident were placed on the inactive docket, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Emma Goerlich, who prosecuted the case.

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Baldwin found Burkins and Hefner each guilty of second-degree assault and granted them probation before judgment, according to the news release.

Both were ordered to one year of supervised probation, to have no contact with the victim or his family, to complete 16 hours of community work service and complete the Errors in Thinking program through the Harford County Health Department.

“I am pleased with the outcome. I think it was an appropriate resolution for the case and after speaking with the victim,” Goerlich said in a statement.

In November 2017, the alleged abuse was reported to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, according to the news release.

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The victim, a 17-year-old member of Fallston fire company, was staying overnight at the firehouse in the summer of 2017 to help with any calls for service. He, along with Burkins, a lieutenant, Hefner, a sergeant, and Colby Ogrysko, 19, of the 1900 block of Pleasantville Road in Forest Hill, were horse-playing in the bunkroom of the fire company when Hefner made a comment about how thin the victim was and asked whether he was a Holocaust victim, according to information Goerlich presented to the judge.

Hefner and Burkins threw the victim down onto a lower bunk and held him down against his will. The victim was held down for approximately 30 seconds, despite his repeated demands to be released, Goerlich said she told the judge.

The charges against Ogrysko were placed on the inactive docket, and he was ordered to complete 16 hours of community work service, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office

Charges filed against the fourth fire company member, Joshua Burkins, 23, also of the 900 block of Winters Court, were placed on the inactive docket, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

The case was investigated by Det. Chris Sergent of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.

This story is corrected from an earlier version.

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