Wash. firefighter-paramedic remains on paid leave during his child molestation trial
The state health department suspended the Walla Walla man's paramedic license, making him ineligible for paid leave, a city spokesperson said
By Jeremy Burnham
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — Anthony Spada, a Walla Walla firefighter currently on trial for alleged child molestation, is still being paid by the city of Walla Walla, city spokesperson Brenden Koch confirmed Friday, Jan. 20.
Spada was placed on paid administrative leave after he was arrested on March 23, 2022, by Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office deputies, who investigated the case at the request of the Walla Walla Police Department.
Later in the year, the Washington State Department of Health suspended Spada's paramedic license, Koch said, making him ineligible for paid leave.
Koch said that since fall 2022, Spada has been using accrued leave, which includes accumulated vacation time, to continue getting paid. Koch also confirmed that Spada remains a city employee.
According to an online database of government employee salaries, Spada's salary in 2021 was $104,691. Figures for 2022 are not yet available.
Koch said that if Spada were to be acquitted at his trial, the city would have to complete an internal investigation before he could return to work.
Spada has been on pre-trial release with no bail since the day after his arrest.
In court at the time, it was argued by his defense attorney that his position as a firefighter and ties to the community prevented him from being a flight risk.
Spada, 47, is charged with first-degree child molestation, second-degree child molestation and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
First-degree child molestation is a Class A felony with a maximum sentence of life in prison. Second-degree child molestation is a Class B felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
During opening statements at his trial Thursday, Jan. 19, prosecutors said the evidence will show Spada inappropriately touched a 14-year-old minor and showed pornographic content to the juvenile.
The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin does not publish the identity of alleged sexual assault victims nor any trial details that might identify the victim.
The defense's argument is the alleged victim is lying. A motive for lying was previewed to the jury during opening statements.
The first witness called by the state was a relative of the alleged victim. She described the relationship between the defendant and the victim as one that could include abuse.
Testimony is expected to continue at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 23.
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