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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –- A Bladen County man and former Wilmington firefighter jailed for months in Virginia on sex crime allegations has been found not guilty.

A jury found Robert Hester not guilty yesterday on two counts of sexual penetration by force with an object. There was a mistrial on one count of abduction with intent to defile, according to the Fairfax County Court Clerk’s Office.

Hester’s attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.

Police in Virginia arrested Hester in March after an incident at a hotel March 19 involving a woman investigators say Hester know. He was arrested two days later and held in jail ever since.

The Wilmington Fire Department fired Hester April 15, because he had missed too many days of work.

Comment on this Story

  • Tracy Bannon

    NOT GUILTY!!! I was there! The truth is in black and white!!! GO HESTER!!! Moral of the story: If you are going to lie, make sure there is NO evidence that proves you have committed perjury!!

  • dean bailey

    moral of the story stay away from women get you a good man

  • jason

    I wonder if the city will give him back his job? They already fired him because they felt he was “guilty”. I guess you are guilty until proven innocent. I wonder how much this will cost the taxpayers of Wilmington if he sues for his job back, back pay, and defamation of character. I sure would!

  • guesty

    They fired him because he missed too many days, a perfectly legal way to rid themselves of him. A mistrial is not the same as not guilty so he could still be convicted of abduction with intent to defile.

  • Vog46

    The city was well within its statutory authority to fire this guy for missing too much work, however, the city may have acted too hastily. I think the most appropriate action would have been to place him on un-paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the trial.
    Remember this incident happened out of state, so the city did not defame his character.

    Personally I think a shrewd lawyer would hep him for getting his job back, if he proves his phone calls were restricted so that he could only call his lawyer OR the city.

    The question is, will embarrassment make him search for work elsewhere?
    Now think of this through the city’s eyes. Is it worth the cost of re-training another firefighter? Or, would it be more cost effective for the city to take this guy back? This was a personal life indiscretion, in another city/state on HIS time.

    I’m thinking that if this guy gets a hearing he will get his job back.


  • Guest2020

    He wasn’t fired because of the accusations. He was fired for missing too much work. Since charges were brought against the man, there is no defamation of character. If he didn’t do the work, then he should not be entitled to back pay. It’s not the city’s fault and it’s not the taxpayer’s fault that he got arrested and missed work.

  • Guest-o-matic

    …unless you don’t have morals.

  • PublicAvenger

    What was he supposed to do, break out of jail ?

  • Guest6969696969


    But WAIT!, He still LOST HIS Job….
    WWAY **SHAME On you**
    Because,, **The Fairfax County Adult Detention Center says Hester is being held without bond.**
    YOUR LINK,,–> http://www.wwaytv3.com/2013/04/25/wilmington-firefighter-fired-after-sex-crime-arrest

    Held w/out Bond therefore, unable to BE @ his Job…..

    NOW; Robert Thomas Hester, has been convicted in a “crime”, THROUGH; Guilty of AND, BY THE MEDIA….

    Should This Man, be **Re-Instated** W/back-pay?
    This is a Honest question,,,
    Facts that were Reported, Shining SUNLIGHT, on the truth? Is found to be,, (Not So honest?)..
    HE was found to be NOT GUILTY?
    IS this NOT what reporting is? While being the TOP of RATINGS are about?…$$$
    This man, (I don’t even know Him, Should be **re-instated* WITH back, pay and JOB restored)..


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