OCEAN COUNTY – A 26-year old female volunteer firefighter has filed a federal lawsuit against her instructor at the Ocean County Fire Academy alleging that he bound and raped her in September of 2018.
According to court records, the woman claims her instructor, John Syers, lured her into his home in Lacey Township on September 26, 2018 where he proceeded to restrain, torture and rape her. Syers is an instructor at the Ocean County Fire Academy as well as an Elizabeth firefighter. The woman is identified in the lawsuit only by her initials.
The suit claims that Syers invited the woman over to show off his new home but instead he lured her to the bedroom and sexually assaulted her. The woman’s attorney Robert R. Fuggi Jr. said in a statement that, over 46 minutes, Syers restrained, beat, burned, sexually assaulted and strangled her.
The federal lawsuit carries with it 32 counts of torture, sexual assault, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, domestic violence and invasion of privacy against Syers, the Ocean County Fire Academy, and Ocean County Freeholders as defendants. The lawsuit also claims that county officials were negligent and did not do their due diligence before hiring Syers.
After her Lavallette condo burned down in May of 2017, the woman became a volunteer with the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Department. While she was attending the Ocean County Fire Academy, she met and briefly dated Syers who later broke things off for another woman, according to court documents. It is alleged that Syers continued to message the woman via social media following the end of the relationship.
According to the lawsuit, the woman shared a consensual kiss with Syers on the day of the attack but pulled away and “withdrew consent.” It was then that Syers tied her down, tortured and raped her. Syers allegedly tore her clothes off, hit her, blindfolded her, and strangled her until she was unconscious.
The suit claims that Syers not only tortured her but also captured photos of it on his cell phone.
According to the woman’s attorney, she was later able to extricate herself from the ties and leave. Syers offered to let her shower and offered apologies as she was departing, the suit stated.
Following the attack, the woman went to Community Medical Center for a rape test, antibiotics and an emergency contraceptive to prevent pregnancy.
The woman has since taken out a permanent restraining order against Syers.