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Lifeguards fired for hazing new squad members

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KENOSHA (AP) The city has fired a supervisor and three underlings, after an investigation found rookie lifeguards were forced to swim in a dangerous undertow, sit in a tub of icy water and eat raw eggs, an official said Thursday.

“I'm extremely disappointed because it's really a policy of the city that we want to have a professional, safe, competent environment for our employees and our citizens," said Chuck Grapentine, Kenosha personnel director.

Grapentine said Robert Rudolph, 42, the city's beach and pool supervisor, was fired from his full-time job, which includes construction and maintenance duties in the winter.

Two lifeguard supervisors, Gerald Wood, 21, at Simmons Beach, and Jamie Mueller, 20, at Anderson Pool, also were fired. Kimberly Moddes, 21, an assistant lifeguard supervisor at Simmons Beach also was fired. Those positions were seasonal.

The four were fired over Wednesday and Thursday, Grapentine said. Efforts by The Associated Press to reach them through directory assistance Thursday proved unsuccessful.

“All the people were there at the incident (at Simmons Beach)," Grapentine said.

The hazing at Simmons Beach last Friday included rolling in maple syrup and then sand, eating a goldfish, drinking liquor, eating laxatives and having leeches and worms dropped in swimsuits, said Pam Goettl, who quit her job as a lifeguard Saturday morning.

“There were numerous girls crying and vomiting. I saw a lot of vomiting, and people saying, `I hate this. Why is this necessary?"' said Goettl, 17, of Racine.

“I got so mad. It has been going on all summer. This was the straw that broke the back," she said.

Goettl, who came to Kenosha after being a lifeguard for more than two years in Racine, said she saw senior guards drinking on the job in Kenosha.

The head guards often used vulgar and sexually explicit language, kept pornographic magazines in the beach house and at least once played strip poker, she said.

Grapentine said the investigation is continuing, and officials are looking into possible criminal charges.

“It's disappointing. You always hate when this kind of thing happens," he said. “We think that we have a really good place to live here. We think that we have competent employees."

A similar lifeguard party occurred in 1995, resulting in several firings and a suspension


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