Disaster Relief ‘Impostor’ Insists He’s Innocent
(HENRYVILLE, Ind.) -- Out on bail and under house-arrest, Gerald Flint, the man accused of being an imposter by residents and victims of last month's devastating tornado in Henryville, Ind., told ABC News the claims against him are false, but remained evasive about his medical training and license to practice medical procedures.
In a report that aired on "Nightline" and "World News with Diane Sawyer" on Tuesday, ABC News detailed how Flint allegedly took control of relief efforts by claiming to be with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies. Despite his badges, some residents grew suspicious when he allegedly asked for donations and called the state police, leading to Flint's arrest.
In an email sent to ABC News after the Nightline segment aired, Flint denied charges of theft and impersonating a public servant brought by the Clark County, Indiana prosecutor's office. He insisted he did nothing wrong, and only helped the people of Henryville.
"We stole from nobody," Flint wrote. "I took not a single penny in hand, pocket or vehicle in Henryville, Naab, Marysville or anywhere in the tornado zone."
"I gave my own clean socks, hats, gloves and safety glasses once all we had ran out," he wrote. "We gave inspiration, education, training and encouragement."
Flint added by phone that he "didn't authorize anyone to take money for me or my organization."
Flint said he's been working in the field of disaster relief all over the world for years through his organization Volunteer Medics Worldwide, and brought his skills to Henryville. "We did rescue several folks," he insisted. "We did bring them water, Gatorade and bandages. You don't need to be a brain surgeon to rescue people out of a tornado."
Prior to the "Nightline" broadcast, ABC News had asked Flint about his medical background. Flint said he "can't answer that."
Pressed anew about his medical training and his delinquent California nurse's license, Flint replied, "You don't need to be a Ph.D to give somebody some Tylenol when they have a migraine. Absolutely nothing that I did the entire time I was in Henryville warranted any type of licensure."
Residents and local disaster volunteers in Henryville told ABC News Flint presented himself as medical personnel, a member of the federal Department of Homeland Security and a government official.
Ryan Jefferson, a native of Henryville, said he first met Flint the day after the tornado struck.
"His attire was that of like a first responder from the firehouse or an RN. He had a stethoscope around his neck,' recalled Jefferson. "He just seemed very official."
Volunteer Sherri Schladen and her Boy Scout troops met Flint at a local church where they were volunteering. "He said he was with the first responders," she recounted. "And [he said he was] here to help educate us." She said he also made references to working with FEMA.
In a jail-house interview last week, Flint denied the charges and said he never told people he was with Homeland Security. However, he did tell ABC News he was "climbing the ladder with Homeland Security [and] had to use some protocols with Homeland Security to report the things I saw. That was my duty," a claim authorities said is not true.
ABC News also found that before he was arrested in Indiana, Flint had been hitting disaster areas all over the world for years. Video posted by Flint on his website even shows him conducting medical procedures on a young woman in Africa and children in Vietnam.
Though Flint is a military veteran with medical evacuation background, he does not have a license to distribute prescription drugs. In addition to his Clark County charges, he is also facing charges in nearby Jackson County, Indiana for alleged unlawful possession or use of the prescription drugs doxycycline and ciprofloxacin. He will face a judge in those charges on May 2.
In Clark County court, Flint pled not guilty to theft and impersonating a government agent and told the judge he was retired from the military and has served his country faithfully and honorably. "I would like to clear my name," he said. He is due back in court on May 14.
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