Firefighter convicted of lewd behavior

Published May 14, 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE - A Broward County firefighter accused of fondling boys in a swimming pool at an Orlando resort was acquitted of felony molestation charges, but convicted of lesser misdemeanors, his attorney said.

An Orange County jury convicted Joseph Habib on Friday of lewd and lascivious behavior, said his attorney, Eric Schwartzreich.

Habib, a Broward Sheriff's Office firefighter from Sunrise, was sentenced to 180 days, but was freed immediately because he had been in jail awaiting trial for nine months, Schwartzreich said.

The charges stemmed from an incident at a 2006 conference at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World. Habib was in Central Florida attending a conference for professionals in the emergency care industry.

Habib, who worked with BSO's Fire Rescue for more than three years, was suspended without pay after his arrest.