Fire dept. leaders off job after charges against 2 others

Cascade Township Hall
The Cascade Township Hall.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Cascade Township fire chief and deputy fire chief have been placed on administrative leave over their handling of two firefighters who were charged for an alleged sexual relationship with a teen girl.

After reviewing the results of an independent investigation into the Cascade Township Fire Department, Township Manager Ben Swayze told 24 Hour News 8 that he has placed Chief John Sigg and Deputy Chief John Shipley on administrative leave.

The investigation stems from two Cascade Township firefighters, Steven Drake and Clem Harold Bell, who were charged for an alleged sexual relationship a teen girl.

Swayze said the investigation didn’t indicate anyone else in the department or township, but it did find a number of deficiencies in policies and procedures — which the township is correcting.

Bell, 51, was charged in January on child sexually abusive activity, two counts of using a computer to commit a crime and possession of child sexually abusive material charges.

Drake, 32, was arraigned in February on two counts of sexually abusive material and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime.

**Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the deputy chief’s last name as Sipley. It is actually Shipley.