Elected officials call on Coventry Fire District chair to resign

By John Krinjak

Email: jkrinjak@abc6.com

Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

COVENTRY, R.I. (WLNE) — Reps. Jared Nunes, Bobby Nardolillo, and Sen. Lou Raptakis spoke out Wednesday night, calling on the Coventry Fire District’s board chair, 67-year-old Frank Palin, to step aside immediately.

"I kind of gave it a little bit of time. I kind of figured he would resign on his own. I think that amount of time has passed, and now we’re stepping forward. It’s time for him to go," said Nunes. 

Palin pled not guilty Monday to indecent assault and battery on a person over 65.

The incident is alleged to have happened at the cornerstone assisted living facility in Canton, where Palin was working as a contracted nurse practitioner.

"My grandmother most specifically has Alzheimer’s, and when I saw this on television, what happened, immediately I took to heart my grandmother. It did hit home," said Nardolillo. 

According to the police report, video from a camera installed in the woman’s room by her family shows Palin assaulting her and asking about her sexual history.

"It’s sickening. It really is. I don’t want him representing me," said Nunes. 

‘The community that i have spoken to is completely disgusted and appalled. When you sit in any elected position you’re supposed to have integrity and trust and respect in your character and this has completely tarnished every one of those," said Nardolillo. 

The firefighters union has already called for the board to deal with the situation swiftly, and I spoke on the phone to former board member John Cook, who says he’s appalled and also believes Palin should step aside.

"All of us believe in due process, but there’s a point where the allegations are of such a nature that it’s in everybody’s best interest to get out of your leadership position," said Nunes.

Palin has been released on $5,000 bail. He’s due back in court in July. 

We reached out to Palin, as well as the four other current board members, for comment, but have not heard back. 

I’m told by former board member John Cook that if Palin did resign his seat would not be immediately filled because his term is up this November.

The board is set to meet on June 13th, but it’s unclear whether this issue will be on the agenda.

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