A fire captain in Arizona accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl while “extremely intoxicated” has claimed he thought she was an adult.
According to court documents obtained by the Arizona Republic, 48-year-old Michael William Palmatier allegedly told a colleague at the Gilbert Fire Department that he did things he could not take back during a relative’s 50th birthday party at a home in Queen Creek on April 21,
Palmatier told the co-worker during a recorded call that he took a prescription muscle relaxer earlier that day after hurting his neck during a sex act with his adult girlfriend, the court documents claim.
Palmatier, who resigned after his arrest Wednesday, allegedly recalled going into a bedroom during the party while off-duty and starting to kiss the victim, not fully aware of what he was thinking.
The colleague then told Palmatier that the victim was 8-years-old, prompting him to repeatedly curse before crying and apologizing, according to the Republic.
Palmatier then said “he let his demons get out,” the court records claim.
In another recorded call, Palmatier allegedly said he went into the bedroom because he “sexually desired” one of the adults at the party, but claimed he would never victimize a child, saying he thought he was kissing someone’s mouth.
“Michael admitted the entire thing was wrong but he would never knowingly do anything sexually to a juvenile,” the records allege, according to the Republic.
“He also commented, ‘Yeah I have a sick side to me, like a sexually sick side to me, but not in that way.’”
Palmatier allegedly later acknowledged that children “don’t make s–t like that up,” but insisted that he thought he was kissing an adult’s mouth rather than the girl’s genitals.
The veteran fire captain of nearly 20 years was arrested Wednesday on charges of suspicion of sexual contact with a minor, kidnapping and indecent exposure, according to the newspaper.
The girl, who was asleep at the time, awoke to a man performing a sex act on her before she escaped the bed and ran into a nearby bathroom, court documents claim.
The girl’s aunt told investigators that her niece told her a “man had removed his pants and underwear and licked her.”
Witnesses at the party said they saw Palmatier “abruptly leave” the birthday bash, leading one male family friend to later confront him at his home.
“Michael answered the door and appeared to be extremely intoxicated,” the records read, according to the Republic.
Palmatier then asked the man if he was upset, before allegedly repeating, “I f–ked up.”
Palmatier, who has been released from custody, was ordered by a judge to wear an electronic monitoring device ahead of his next court appearance on May 1, the Republic reports.