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This is a six-month review of the most-read crime stories in Collier County on naplesnews.com from September 2018 to February 2019. Vonna Keomanyvong, vonna.keomanyvong@naplesnews.com; 239-213-5380

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Investigative files related to a former Marco Island firefighter accused of sending lewd pictures to a teenage girl may reveal a deeper problem for the fire department.

After being caught lying to Collier County Sheriff’s Office detectives during a sex crimes investigation, Nicholas Macchiarolo told investigators his semen may be in a workout room because it was “where everyone comes to hook up.”

“I mean yeah I’ve, I’ve had sex with other girls besides my wife in there,” Macchiarolo said according to a transcript from a May 4, 2018, sworn interview. “Um, it’s kind of (the) place to, excuse me, um, to go, I guess. That’s the typical place in this department.” 

The gym in question is between two stations, Fire Station 50, and the police department. 

More: Marco firefighter takes plea for sending lewd photos to teen

The disclosure came as detectives were trying to ascertain the extent of his relationship with the girl, including how she would know about the presence of genetic material in the gym.

Macchiarolo was firedin March after pleading no contest to the third-degree felony charge of unlawfully using a two-way communication device to facilitate or commission a felony.  

The prosecution report, which was obtained by the fire department following the conclusion of Macchiarolo’s criminal case, contained conflicting information from what he said during an internal affairs interview on Aug. 30, 2018.

During the internal affairs interview, which took place nearly four months after his sworn interview with Collier detectives, Macchiarolo denied sending pictures to the girl, 16, and having sex in any of the buildings. 

That, however, was not true based upon his admission to detectives. After initially denying the claims, Macchiarolo admitted to sending lewd photos and videos to the girl as well as requesting pictures of the girl performing sexual acts.

More: Marco firefighter who took plea has been terminated

The prosecution report includes digital evidence from the girl's phone and a unique identifier from Macchiarolo's Snapchat account to support he committed those acts.

Deputy Chief Dave Batiato said there was no way to verify Macchiarolo’s claims of having sex in those buildings because cameras outside had not been connected. Batiato said the city had been in the process of connecting cameras when Macchiarolo was arrested.

That problem has since been rectified: Cameras record and store information and a proxy-card reader logs who is entering buildings.

Macchiarolo’s arrest also prompted the city to enter into a contract with the HR Doctor for $9,000 four days later. 

“(The HR Doctor) was hired to support the administrative investigation and to do some employee training, post this serious incident,” Batiato wrote in an email to the Naples Daily News.

An invoice obtained through a public records request describes the services provided as “training seminars and disciplinary action support.”

Along with hiring the HR Doctor, the fire department also required its employees to sign a policy review and acknowledgment form. 

Investigation into sex crimes not over

The prosecution report, internal affairs interviews and communications from the victim, however, included information that other firefighters may have been involved or, at the minimum, knew of Macchiarolo’s conduct.

A person in contact with the victim provided the Naples Daily News with screenshots of conversations with the victim, including one where a current Marco Island firefighter is accused of trying to organize a meetup with the victim at a hotel.

In his internal affairs interview, Macchiarolo said that the girl told him she had been sexually active with a different fire employee.

In inquiring about active investigations related to either of the other firefighters, Sheriff’s spokesperson Kristi Lester said she couldn’t confirm nor deny whether either party was part of active investigations. 

Cross-referencing the victim with active investigations, the Sheriff’s Office produced an incident report from last month in which detectives contacted another employee.

More: Family files claim: Daughter was sent lewd photos by now-former firefighter

While the report is heavily redacted due to the active status of the investigation and the nature of the crime, it includes a date of contact as well as information about the person’s marriage and children. Using shift reports, marriage licenses and information the person gave about his family, the Daily News was able to determine the person is neither of the previously referenced firefighters. 

The incident report noted, “the suspect repeatedly denied the allegations and stated he had no knowledge of the victim and has never met or spoken to the victim.”

It also noted his cooperation and willingness to assist in the investigation.

An attorney for the family of the victim has filed a notice of claim against the city of Marco Island and Macchiarolo for damages resulting from negligence. In the letter, which was dated April 23, it notes that the firm is continuing to investigate the existence of other parties that may have been involved in Macchiarolo’s actions.

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