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Settlement reached after sex video shared among Las Vegas firefighters

After a sexually explicit video of a Las Vegas firefighter started circulating within the city’s Fire Department in June 2018, she sued the city over how it responded. Now the two sides have reached a $280,000 settlement.

The firefighter, who resigned last year and is identified in city and federal court records as Sadie Helm, accused the Las Vegas Fire Department of allowing the video to pass from employee to employee by refusing to properly investigate her complaints while issuing “unreasonably light” discipline to colleagues who admitted complicity.

She also said she was subject to sexual and gender harassment, including from senior fire employees: One called her a “freak,” and another referred to her as a “hot chick,” according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in March 2019.

The City Council is expected to consider approving the settlement agreement on Wednesday, its agenda shows.

“I think it’s a message to anyone who’s going to let their employees engage in the behavior of this type, this type of behavior in today’s age does not go unnoticed,” said attorney Jenny Foley, who represented Helm.

Foley said the behavior “can be very dangerous on a number of levels.”

In the federal complaint, the details of the accusations depict a spurned ex-boyfriend within the Henderson Fire Department as the culprit who allegedly shared the intimate video, without Helm’s knowledge, with Las Vegas and Henderson firefighters.

The video — described to Helm by a co-worker as her “doing things with yourself sexually” — was then circulated between Las Vegas and Henderson firefighters during work hours on the property of both departments, according to the lawsuit.

“It was soon common knowledge around (the Las Vegas Fire Department) that there was a sex video showing Plaintiff,” the lawsuit reads. “Despite this ongoing sexual harassment, (the department) failed to act, bungled the investigation, delayed the investigation unnecessarily and generally tried to sweep the incident under the rug, subjecting Plaintiff to continued sexual harassment, and trauma.”

The complaint also accuses an unknown person, referred to as John Doe, of shooting a bullet through her car’s sunroof window as it was parked outside work in an effort to silence her complaints. City marshals who responded to the scene concluded that someone in a nearby neighborhood shot a stray bullet into the air, according to the suit.

Helm sued both cities and a dozen Las Vegas fire personnel, including senior employees, but the claims were later dropped against her ex-boyfriend, Nathan Hannig, four others and the city of Henderson, court records show. The settlement, if approved, will resolve the claims against the remaining defendants, according to Foley.

The city of Las Vegas declined to comment.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.