ALTOONA, PA. (WTAJ) — A firefighter at a Blair County Fire Company was allowed to serve the community despite being a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania for the past 15 years.
The Antis Township Board of Supervisors received criminal clearances for every firefighter serving the Pinecroft Volunteer Fire Company from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services at the end of July. No red flags about Dustin McFarland’s past conviction were present.
However, he’s been on Megan’s List as a registered sex offender since 2004.
According to criminal paperwork, McFarland pleaded guilty to aggravated indecent assault of a minor, as well as the corruption of minors, in 2003.
He was sentenced to one year in prison and one year probation.
After a study from the state Department of Community and Economic Development found a lack of internal paperwork, specifically from Pinecroft Volunteer Fire Department, Antis Township Manager Lucas Martsolf said the Public Safety Committee requested criminal clearances for everyone at the company.
A clearance document from DHS, “No records exist in the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ statewide database listed Dustin L. McFarland as a perpetrator of an indicated or founded report of child abuse.”
On the Megan’s Law website, he is a lifetime offender. The status was updated in May.
Dustin’s brother, Cody McFarland, currently serves as the Company’s Fire Chief. Dustin allegedly served as Deputy Chief at one point.
According to PA Child Protective Services Law, mandated reporters must make a report if the suspect is “affiliated with an agency institution, organization, school…Or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or training of the child.”
The law also states all emergency responders are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse, and someone who willfully fails to report child abuse could face felony charges.
Fire Department President Stacy Kustenborder and Treasurer Lance Kustenborder did not have a comment on the situation but did confirm Dustin McFarland’s resignation on Tuesday.
WTAJ reached out to DHS about this situation and did not received a response.