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UPDATE: Alleged firehouse rendezvous prompts investigation

Woman claims blackmail following brief affair



UPDATE: Following the City Paper's initial report, the Charleston City Police has announced the victim has refused to prosecute the case and the criminal investigation has ended. Police spokesman Charles Francis said in a statement Friday that Darwin Thomas would not face criminal charges. As late as Thursday morning, the investigation was ongoing.

The City of Charleston is wrapping up a nearly two-month-long investigation concerning accusations that a Daniel Island fireman had sex with and took nude photos of a woman in the firehouse. The fireman is accused of threatening to leave the photos of the woman, who is married, on her front doorstep and threatening to post them throughout her apartment complex.

According to a police report filed Oct. 7, Darwin Lagand Thomas, 45, picked up 25-year-old Chasity Dawn Wright at a Daniel Island gas station. Thomas allegedly brought Wright back to the firehouse and had consensual sex with her in the captain's quarters. He also took nude photos of her, with her permission, according to the report. The two had sex one more time at Wright's home before she sought to end the affair. Wright told police that it was at that time that Thomas tried to force her to continue the relationship or risk having the photos distributed.

Wright did not immediately return a call for comment. Contact information for Thomas was not available.

Wright also alleges, according to police, that Thomas said he would be protected because of his status as a fireman and his ties to city police.

Fire department spokesman Mark Ruppel says the police notified the fire department immediately regarding the incident. Thomas has been on paid leave since that time. Ruppel said the city is wrapping up its investigation.

"We take these allegations very seriously," Ruppel says. He also says the suspect is not related to former Charleston Fire Chief Rusty Thomas.

Filed two months ago, the incident was just recently uncovered in the City Paper's weekly review of police reports. Police spokesman Charles Francis says the report was held for a week or two to provide the department time to question witnesses and the victim prior to release — something he says is not common, but happens in certain cases. He did not know why the Oct. 7 report was found between reports for Nov. 27 and Nov. 28, stating that it has been among those made available to the press for several weeks.

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