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Cops and Courts

Ex-Avon Lake fire chief faces 16 counts

  • Grizzell-2-jpg

    Former Avon Lake fire Chief Larry Grizzell appears in court in October for a bond hearing.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE FILE

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ELYRIA — A former Avon Lake fire chief accused of sexual assault has been indicted on charges of sexual battery and gross sexual imposition.

Larry Grizzell, 60, of Elyria, was arrested last month on charges of rape and sexual battery by Elyria police, a day after police received a complaint alleging a sex offense against him.

Grizzell was named in a 16-count indictment by court documents unsealed Wednesday. Grizzell was indicted on eight counts of third-degree felony sexual battery and eight counts of fourth-degree gross sexual imposition by a Lorain County grand jury.

On Oct. 1, Grizzell was arrested at his home without incident, according to Elyria police. The previous day, police had received a complaint alleging a sex offense against Grizzell.

An investigation by detectives found that Grizzell had sexually assaulted a family member, police have said. As a result of the investigation, detectives signed warrants against him.

Grizzell “made admissions regarding the offenses he was charged with” when police interviewed him, officers have said.

Grizzell served as fire chief in Avon Lake for four years before stepping down in 2005, after months of internal strife between the chief and the city firefighters union. Grizzell remained with the department as a platoon lieutenant before retiring in 2015, according to the Avon Lake Fire Department.

In a letter to then Mayor Rob Berner in November 2005, Grizzell cited numerous roadblocks and waning firefighter support among his reasons for his resignation.

Grizzell met strong opposition after entering into an agreement with the Eastern Lorain County EMS Association that allowed the department to transport emergency patients to an emergency care center in Avon. A fire chief from a neighboring city said the decision was so unpopular with union members, who favored a cooperative of Lakewood, Fairview and St. John West Shore hospitals, that they took a vote of no confidence in Grizzell.

Grizzell is being held in Lorain County Jail on $1.25 million bond.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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