Hearing set in Strasburg firefighters’ cases

Fabian Sosa

WOODSTOCK — A hearing has been set for Jan. 11 for the six Strasburg firefighters charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Misdemeanor arrest warrants were issued on Dec. 28 for: Nathan Scott Hirschberg, 26, of Winchester; Andrew Steven Key, 24, of Strasburg; Dale Ray King, 36, of Strasburg; Bradly A. Markin, 21, of Strasburg; Christopher Lee Pangle, 32, of Woodstock; and Fabian Jorge Sosa, 25, of Woodstock. Court documents in Markin’s case were unavailable Wednesday afternoon.

A search warrant executed during the investigation says that the volunteer firefighters participated in the gang rape of a 17-year-old girl at multiple locations, and shared video of the alleged incident via the video messaging app SnapChat. According to court documents, the alleged offense occurred in January 2017 and was reported to Virginia State Police on April 5.

The search warrant also alleges that the acts occurred at King’s Strasburg residence, a room at the Fairfield Inn in Strasburg, and at the Strasburg Fire Department on King Street. The victim’s mother was contacted by a member of either the fire department or the rescue squad about the video’s existence. The mother then contacted Strasburg Mayor Rich Orndorff on April 4 about the situation, the search warrant states.

Interviews conducted by Virginia State Police Special Agent Heather K. Jones with the victim’s mother “detailed a sexual relationship between her daughter and the suspects,” the search warrant alleges. Screenshots of text messages between the mother and daughter discuss oral, anal and vaginal intercourse, the warrant alleges, and describes acts with Markin, Hirschberg and Key specifically.

Christopher Pangle

The victim also allegedly indicated that she was with Markin in his truck and King at his house, the search warrant states, and the victim indicated she was highly intoxicated and intimidated by all the suspects. The warrant also alleges that the victim said the intercourse with Sosa was “not consensual.”

Pangle is not named in the search warrant, and it is unclear how authorities linked him to the incident.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Louis Campola, who is prosecuting the cases, declined to answer any questions on Wednesday.

“The office has no comment at this time,” Campola said in reply to several questions.

Key was arrested on Dec. 29 and released on a $7,500 secured bond, and Sosa, who was also arrested that day, was released on an $8,000 secured bond. Pangle was also arrested on Dec. 29, and was released on a $10,000 secured bond

Andrew Key

Hirschberg was arrested on Dec. 30 and released on a $1,000 unsecured bond, meaning he was released on his signature and may be required to pay the bond should he violate any of his bond conditions. King was arrested the same day and also released on $1,000 unsecured bond. They all have yet to appear in court.

Hirschberg’s criminal history includes a September 2012 DUI and misdemeanor eluding police charges in Warren County, for which he served 20 days of a 180-day jail sentence. An illegal possession of alcohol charge in that case was dismissed by the prosecution. He was also charged with assault and battery in 2013, but that charge was dismissed. King, who is the chief of the department, was convicted of a misdemeanor DUI charge in 2015, after which he was granted a restricted license for a period that ended in September 2016.

All are scheduled to appear in Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court at 9 a.m. Jan. 11. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. No representative of the department has responded to multiple requests for comment.