Former firefighter accused of sex and inappropriate photos with teenager pleads guilty

Posted at 10:05 PM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 22:05:49-04

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A former firefighter faces up to several years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges.

Investigators say Steve Drake, who was an on-call firefighter for the Cascade Township Fire Department, had sex with a 16-year-old girl who was a member of the department’s Explorers Program and exchanged lewd photos with her.

Because the age of consent in Michigan is 16, Drake was not charged with criminal sexual conduct.

On Monday, he pleaded guilty to promoting child sexually abusive material, using a computer to commit a crime and possession of child sexually abusive material.

While Drake could spend several years behind bars for the crimes, prosecutors tell FOX 17 they’ll request Drake only be sentenced to a year in prison.

Drake is one of two men from that department accused of inappropriate conduct.

Clem Bell, courtesy Kent County.

Clem Bell was arrested in January, after investigators say they found child pornography on his computer at the department. Bell is accused of having sex with the same 16-year-old girl as Drake, as well as storing sexually-charged photos of her on his device for future use.

Earlier this month, Bell pleaded guilty to using a computer to commit a crime, possession of child sexually abusive material and promoting child sexually abusive activity. Two other child pornography charges against him were dropped.

Bell resigned from the department following his arrest and is scheduled to go to trial on June 15th.

Following Bell and Drake’s arrest, the department’s Explorers Program was disbanded.

In March, the Cascade Township Fire Department’s Deputy Chief, John Shipley was fired and the Chief, John Sigg retired. The men cited an investigation that found a lack of procedure and policies in the fire department that led to them both losing their jobs.