KENT COUNTY. Mich. – A Cascade Township volunteer firefighter is facing four felony charges after being arrested for having sexual relations with a 16-year-old girl.
Court documents reveal 51-year-old Clem Harold Bell was arrested for persuading or coercing a child to engage in sexually abusive activity for the purpose of producing any child sexually abusive material. In addition, it’s said Bell exchanged sexually explicit photographs with the girl, which he saved to his device for future use.
Investigators learned from the victim that she had known the defendant since April of 2016 and had been a member of the department’s firefighter explorer program. The criminal investigation is still open. Bell is expected to be arraigned later this week on charges of child sexually abusive activity, using a computer to commit a crime, and possession of child sexually abusive material; all of which are felonies and could put Bell behind bars for life.
In addition to his volunteer work with the Fire Department, Bell is the former Clerk of Cascade Township.
Cascade Township Supervisor Rob Beahan offered the following statement on Monday:
We were shocked and saddened to learn about the extremely inappropriate alleged conduct of Clem Bell while he was a township employee. He was suspended at the onset of the investigation and has since resigned his position with the Fire Department and is no longer an employee.
When we learned of these allegations in December, we took immediate action. We have cooperated fully with the Kent County Sheriff's Department and appreciate their thorough work on this matter. We have reached out to the family to offer counseling to this young woman. We have suspended our Explorers program and have reached out to talk individually with the families of other students in the program. We are also conducting our own investigation, which is ongoing at this time.
Our full-time firefighters are hardworking professionals who share our dismay over the alleged behavior of their now former colleague.