Chester County battalion chief accused of sexually abusing minors

NORTH COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A battalion chief is now under arrest after authorities say he sexually abused minors, according to the Chester County District Attorney's Office.

Carlton Bell, 27, who was the battalion chief at the North Coventry Fire Company and served as a volunteer firefighter at Limerick, Ridge, and Goodwill in Pottstown fire companies, has been charged with multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and related offenses. He has been suspended from all fire companies.

On Dec. 24, 2019, authorities say they learned that Bell had previously made contact with a 15-year-old through the online dating app Grindr. Their conversation continued on the app Snapchat where the pair allegedly exchanged nude photos and arranged to meet for sex.

Investigators say on September 15, 2019, Bell picked up the teen at a home in Caln Township and brought the child back to his residence, where they would engage in sexual acts.

Bell allegedly created a group chat on Snapchat with the 15-year-old and two other suspected minors, believed to be 16 and 17 years old. Four days later, on September 19, 2019, the DA's office says Bell picked up the 15-year-old and two additional suspected minors, where they returned to his house to engage in sex acts.

Bell was arrested on January 17, 2020, and is currently being held on $150,000 cash bail.

The North Coventry Fire Company had no comment on the investigation. Sources say none of the alleged crimes occurred at the fire company.

"The District Attorney's Office is deeply committed to the protection and safety of children. Along with law enforcement throughout this county, we will continue to be vigilant in helping this vulnerable population. We are grateful for the collective efforts of law enforcement in the swift apprehension of the defendant in this case," said District Attorney Deb Ryan.
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