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Firefighter Facing Underage Sex Charges

DALLAS -- A volunteer firefighter in Luzerne County faces charges for statutory sexual assault.

According to court papers, Joshua Ralston, 20, from Dallas, had sex with a 13-year-old girl on two occasions at the victim's home.

Police say Ralson admitted to the assaults.

Police tell Newswatch 16 the Trucksville volunteer firefighter was 19 years old when he had sex with the girl.

Many in the community are shocked by his arrest.

The Dallas Township Police Department arrested Ralston last week. The charges include aggravated indecent assault and statutory sexual assault.

"It gives firefighters a bad name, a bad reputation, and it really shouldn't happen," said Tom Williams of Shavertown.

Police say Ralston had sex two times with the girl--once in December of 2016 and again in February of 2017.

Court papers show that he had known the girl for several years.

The alleged incidents happened at the victim's home while her parents were not there.

Court documents also show Ralston admits that he had sex with the girl, saying that he knew it was wrong and that he tried to break off the relationship.

People in the community say Ralston should have known better.

"I never expected that from a volunteer firefighter," said Trenton Keller of Dallas. "Usually the people I know that are volunteer firefighters are usually really nice people and really care for the community."

Dallas Township police say they found out about the alleged relationship through ChildLine, a statewide service that allows community members to report child abuse anonymously.

"The state tracks it. It assigns a number. It gets right back through the D.A.'s office to us and monthly we review that to make sure nobody falls through the cracks," said Dallas Township Assistant Police Chief Doug Higgins.

Ralston is free on bail.

Newswatch 16 reached out to the Trucksville Volunteer Fire Department to see if Ralston still works there. Our call has not been returned. We also stopped by his address and no one answered the door.

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