Prostitute Confesses Decade of Firehouse Sex
Chicago Fire Department Faces Heat
By Fran Spielman, City Hall Reporter
27-year-old prostitute claims she performed oral sex on as many as five
firefighters a night several times over an 11-year period in a handwritten
statement that touched off a sex scandal in the Chicago Fire Department (particularly
the Engine Company 11 firehouse at 5343 North Cumberland).
The Fire Department opened an investigation last week, but at that time
officials said they were investigating only one incident involving "more than
one firefighter." The new allegations involve repeated sex acts at multiple
firehouses spanning a period of more than a decade.
Sources said Jennifer Manzella told police she was paid $25 for every sex act
she performed, that the sex went on at "several" Chicago firehouses and that
her 27-year-old roommate was performing similar acts for on-duty firefighters
as recently as last November.
Manzella is currently being held in Cook County Jail on charges that she
burglarized the Elmwood Park home of a retired Chicago firefighter with whom
she said she shared an 11-year relationship. According to sources familiar
with her statement, she wrote that "part of my living circumstance included
According to Manzella, the alleged firehouse liaisons were arranged by the
retiree, sources said. During a follow-up interview at the jail, Manzella
reportedly told police she did not know whether the retiree was being paid
for arranging the sexual encounters on nights when no female employees were
working, sources said.
In the follow-up interview, she also said the sexual encounters had been
going on for four or five years, although her statement said 11 years.
The retiree "would drive me to the firehouse, most commonly [Engine No. 11]
on Cumberland near Foster. Once on the premises, I was taken into their
kitchen area and given a drink [soda pop], allowing the men in the TV room an
opportunity to see me and decide if they were interested in partaking in oral
sex from me," Manzella wrote, according to sources familiar with the
"The basic pay to me was $25 per man. On most occasions, I was taken up to
the bunk rooms and, there, gave an average of two to five men oral sex. I
never knew these men other than on the job. . . . There were several other
firehouses during the 11 years I've known [the retiree]. My roommate . . .
who also knew [the retiree], was being taken to various firehouses by him.
She also received payment from firemen to perform oral sex on them. She told
me [the retiree] had taken her to a firehouse as recently as November '99."
Neither Manzella nor the retiree could be reached for comment. In the
statement, Manzella said she could identify some of the men who paid her for
her services and could "absolutely identify" the inside of the Engine No. 11
firehouse, sources said.
Bill Kugelman, president of the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2, said,
"Anybody who knows that business knows that somebody who's sitting in jail
will say anything to get out. That's just one person trying to be vindictive
against someone who has been a friend to her."
Earlier Wednesday, Mayor Daley weighed in on the sex scandal for the first
time and in general expressed his outrage about a practice that has been
grist for the Fire Department rumor mill for years.
"You're not driving to a motel room. You're going into a property owned by
the City of Chicago," the mayor said. "You can't go into a firehouse and have
sex. It's not appropriate."
If evidence is uncovered to substantiate Manzella's charges, Daley said
supervisors will be held accountable as well as those who engaged in the
alleged firehouse sex.
"You have a responsibility. You're in charge of that firehouse," he said.