Forest Service employee arrives at underage sex sting driving fire engine

USFS employee shows up at sex sting in USFS engine
Mark McGill showed up at meeting site in USFS engine CA-CNF-323. Photo Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, via KPMH.

Monday morning at a press conference in Fresno, California several law enforcement agencies announced the arrests of 19 men following an undercover operation that led to the arrest of 19 men, would-be child sexual predators between November 2 and November 5.

The operation was conducted by undercover law enforcement officers pretending to be underage children the suspects talked to on social media. The suspects thought they were talking to boys and girls between 12 and 15 years old.

KMPH has a video of the press conference. At about 1:45 the Sheriff mentions the US Forest Service employee.

Mark McGill being taken into custody
Mark McGill being taken into custody (Photo- Fresno County Sheriff’s Office via KMPH.

“One of the most notable arrests was that of 38-year old Mark McGill Jr. of Perris, California, a Forest Service Employee staying in the Fresno area,” said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. “He arrived at the meeting site in a department fire engine with the intent of having sex with a teenage girl.”

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

64 thoughts on “Forest Service employee arrives at underage sex sting driving fire engine”

  1. Oh man how disgusting and stupid! Really. I guess he thought nobody would notice him in that inconspicuous vehicle while he was committing a crime. Like stealing reserved seat tickets and showing up in stollen clothes. Not too bright.

  2. I have to say I’m at a complete loss for words. Repugnant and stupid doesn’t even come close to describing this. If it wasn’t for this being such a depraved act it would almost be funny. Fresno County SO has a great photo of him in cuffs by the engine. At least there is one less predator on the street.

  3. DAFUQ!!!!!!!! Fire him immediately! No “admin leave”, just fired and prosecuted! F_____g Chomo!

  4. Wellll wellll wellll

    Many a time I recieved rejection letters from USFS and like many served like many in the US Armed Forces….that doesn’t guarantee anything

    BUT this is a true embarrassment for the HR characters that reject numbers of us and let toothless wonders like this pass muster for hire

    WOw just WOW

  5. Stand by for a Promotion Ceremony…RO?…WO? WHO KNOWS.
    Screw up (misspelled), move up.
    How sweet it is for equality. Right?

  6. All of USFS in CALIFORNIA needs to got Cal-Fire. Then we will have Professional And dedicated firefighters. That don’t do Stupid stuff like this.

  7. Yes! And slap on a few additional federal charges related to non-authorized use of a government vehicle, and other things while (assuming) on the clock and maybe using government property to communicate?

    This is why we need to have FBI background checks for USFS fire employees. Fire employees are expected (part of their PD) to make frequent public contacts, appear as a witness in court on the government’s behalf, appear at public events and interact with kids and public events and school programs. Not to mention expectation of assisting in medical aids…

    I would rather have us focus on high quality employees- not just filling vacancies with low standards to show numbers. There had to be red flags from this guy leading up to this event. We need the means to weed out the bad apples. The inability of the agency to deal with problematic employees is a HUGE retention problem.

  8. What was the perp doing in Fresno with a government rig? He works on the Palomar district in Ramona, which is 350 miles south of Fresno. Who is his supervisor? Did his supervisor know he was in Fresno and approve the trip?

  9. Seriously, who cares about his travel auth??? LOL. There are myriad reasons he could have been in travel status.
    The SALIENT thing about all this, Andrew, is that he committed a crime and is a chomo. Get it together, son.

  10. Penny-for-your-thoughts: I assure you the Forest Service cares about his travel status and his supervision.

  11. The biggest problem with the FS retention problem isn’t the empty seats…it’s the quality of people being put into the seats due to a lack of worthy applicants and desperation by managers. The “numbers” and graphs don’t tell the full story. “If you don’t like it leave” and we will fill your spot with this guy.

  12. Exactly right. The quality is dropping rapidly, but the managers never valued the individuals that made up their workforce, so they shouldn’t mind the occasional embarrassment I guess.

  13. That’s why quality matters. You pay bottom of the barrel wages your going to get bottom of the barrel employees.. I was just on a call where district managers were bragging about how easy it was to hire AD’s to fill-out all the vacancies.. I suppose you get what you pay for.

  14. Oh my God! What a disgusting and despicable act! A complete disgrace and a horrible embarrassment to the District, Forest, and the agency. I feel so sorry for the “good people” on the CNF who have to suffer this being associated with their workplace and their line of work. Wondering if the agency pay, retention, and associated “modern day” hiring practices have a slight role in how or why this person was hired.
    Fire this piece of work immediately with no questions asked. Unbelievable!

  15. Lol. Please Bob. ALL agencies, companies and businesses have problem employees. Your bias against our USFS workers is sad. They are real people with families. Human beings are messy and sinful.

  16. Hate to say this Bob but we in Cal Fire have seen our share of nut cases too – everything from child molestations to murders. Sadly, no department is safe from this kind of stuff today.

  17. How is this racist crap allowed up on these comments sections? Isn’t this place moderated?

  18. This is gonna land us all in AgLearn jail for a while. Be on the lookout for a mandatory course entitled “Why being a pederast felon is not in alignment with FS values”.

  19. You the man, Aglearn Bro.

    Crazy f’ing world. Guy in a green Type 3 rolling around urban Fresno looking for kids to bang. I’m surprised he wasn’t wearing his yellow.

    This agency has stories, stories bro…

  20. There have been several predatory incidents that I am aware of that have involved Cal Fire and other fire agencies. This one is just very obviously stupid and high profile with when and how he did it. At issue is the illness and corruption of our friends, family and people that we know and love. It is a very sad day for all. Blame falls on the ignorance and stupidity of the one committing the act. Not the Agency. But as friends/ Coworkers and professionals we need to hold each other accountable. Be professional.

  21. Could have been taking it in for maintenance, could have intentionally broken something so it “needed” maintenance, could have been getting it inspected or weighed…. could be a bunch of reasons there was no crew. There could be a chance that he lied to his supervisor about why he was going where he was going, as well.

  22. One more black eye not just for the USFS. But all of the fire service. Really hope by the time this idiot POS bails out the Feds have his discharge papers complete. Feel sorry for those that work on that Module This won’t go away quick.

  23. When you go to the hardware store to buy a drill bit which one do you invest in? The 2 dollar one that will likely work for a few holes then eventually breaks? Or the 9 dollar one that likely last years?

    The fs invests in 2 dollar drill bits because that’s what they pay for.

    Until the pay is more competitive the candidates will be the same. Minus the unicorn every so often.

  24. This is a PR nightmare! I wonder if the Chief is going to write a letter in support of this guy. It will be interesting to see if this guy gets fired or if he gets promoted like some of the other predictors. Long story short, FS clean house, because we can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys anymore.

  25. Is this a joke? Wake up and come back to this thing called “reality.”
    This is just one ex of the many Cal Fire scandals…..Assistant Chief Scott Henry was demoted to battalion chief for using his state cellphone to make appointments with escorts for sex on three occasions in 2013, and for viewing adult websites. He also used his state vehicle as many as a dozen times to drive to a hotel to meet escorts.
    He didn’t lose his job, just got demoted. So what do yo have to do to get fired? Murder your girl like Cal Fire Battalion Chief Moe Fleming was convicted of. Stabbed her then strangled her with a bed sheet.

  26. This is what we hire anymore. Have great people who work with me all the time great people no records but we won’t hire them but we will hire people like this fool.

  27. After this awful stain for the USFS there is still some hope for support of the Agency when President Biden did an election day press conference wearing a Forest Service ballcap.

  28. We have great people that work on our module – but it’s going to be difficult to keep them at 21.55 / hr after 14 years of blood sweat and tears! With rent exceeding 45% of base pay / mth!

    So they will leave and then it’s anyones guess who shows up one fine day on a cert list for a GS-7 – after **years** of not a single person on our hiring lists!

  29. Jeffery Epstien was a pretty rich guy, didn’t stop him. Rich or poor, evil is in every man’s heart. Just saying I know a lot of horrible rich people just like there are a lot of underpaid and properly paid horrible people too in any profession…

  30. I had no idea I was a $2 drill bit because I work for the agency. There are many, many good people that work for the agency and lumping us all into the useless pile is very insulting.

    Words matter, brah. Best use good ones.

  31. Whatever dude, Jeffery Epstein thrived in a climate that is shady by nature. It’s a totally different culture. We have always had bad seeds in the Forest service. But I guarantee you this guy would have been weeded out on a good module back in the day. We have lost a generation of good supervisors, that has consequences, Forest managers are just looking for people with a pulse to replace them.

  32. Wage and background check can’t weed out all the weirdos.
    While not fire, my old department at work has had 3 guys locked up for child sex crimes. One of them crossed state lines trying to buy a mother and daughter, and he had fish hooks and all sorts of weird stuff in his bag. Thank god it was the FBI that met him.
    All were making ~$50/hr. All three went through an fbi background check including fingerprinting, credit check, 293 question psych test, and had to meet with a psychologist to go over the results and allow the psychologist to ask questions. All passed. Evil has no bounds.

  33. Seriously? A ball cap worn by the Prez creating hope?

    I’m still lookin for Unicorns that says USFS is a cohesive family….maybe at the Shot and operational level…surely not the DO or RO down to the line level……

    Everyone wears ball caps even the Prez….generally doesn’t mean squat…

  34. In the 1990s there was a significant push to hire fire and law personnel that more reflected society and all their woes, the standards were reduced and background checks nearly eliminated, controls were reduced and now we see this disgusting and disastrous outcome. As a former USFS (Sierra NF), Cal Fire (AEU) and municipal chief I am appalled at the incidents of murder, molestation, work place violence incidents and misuse of narcotics we see in the emergency services today, something we seemed to ferret out in the past, but we better reflect society!

    Some might say that I am making a racial statement here, nothing could be further from the truth as a great majority of stupid things we have seen are not perpetrated by protected class individuals.

    Please remember that all agencies have a group of bad apples, but the majority are hard working, dedicated, professionals that truly love their job and do a great job of serving their community and agency. Todays law enforcement and fire agencies have no room for mediocrity and poor attitude individuals.

  35. Yeh. That’s like worrying about wether or not a rapist has outstanding parking tickets. ?

  36. I would have told the cops that the Forest Supervisor ordered me to go…just to drag them in.

  37. Penny: Methinks that you are not a federal HR specialist. Firing a federal civil servant is not as simple as you make it out to be. Breaking the law is not presumptively a firing offense, especially where, at this stage, only an arrest (no conviction) has been made.

    The FS could choose to remove this employee for mis-use of government property and/or being AWOL (if the facts support), in addition to (or instead of) a removal based on an arrest. Removing for vehicle mis-use or AWOL does not require the FS prove that the employee intended to harm the efficiency of Forest Service operations (both infractions are presumed to harm government efficiency), which is the fundamental principle on which the FS has to base its removal action.

    Removal based on the alleged sex crime requires the FS actually prove a crime occurred, i.e., the FS must await successful prosecution, or be prepared to prove the sex crime independent of criminal prosecution during its administrative removal proceeding.

    Welcome to the government, Penny.

  38. If the FS is suppose to hire people that represent society then there should be 51% women on your crew!!! Just saying!!!

  39. Just to follow up…I found out that the FS allowed him to quit. They didn’t fire him. They allowed him to quit.

  40. Any civilian can quit a job without employer permission. The FS could not stop him from doing so, nor would it want to.

  41. I have to hire for my crew, show me a cert list that has anywhere even approaching 25% female applicants and *maybe* with time and luck, I could come even within a remote stones throw of CLF parity. Women don’t show up on the certs and the good ones get grabbed by the most desireable duty locations. It isn’t a matter of us not hiring them, they aren’t applying. I have had multiple cert picks with females in the top three, I bet a lot of other supervisors have too. Just saying.

  42. This hapless USFS Engine Crew, under the dubious leadership of this alleged sexual predator Engine Boss, was enroute to a wildlanf fire assignment, possibly an RX burn.

    This guy sure was comfortable using his USFS Engine instead of ordering up an Uber.

What do you think?