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Five-year drug probe costly for 17, many more

Matt Westerhold • Aug 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM

The Ohio Attorney General came to Sandusky County last week for a news conference about a five-year, multi-juristictional drug investigation that netted the arrests of 17 "mid-level" drug dealers and cocaine with an estimated value of $100,000.

Call it a press conference, a news conference or a dog and pony show, it wasn't a "finest moment" for any institution represented. The half-dozen, give or take, media companies present failed to ask any probing questions with the exception of Register reporter Emil Whitis.

Whitis asked about the cost of the investigation and whether there were criminal connections among the suspects netted in the  five-year, multi-juristictional investigation. DeWine, Sandusky County sheriff Kyle Overmyer both talked about the good cooperation that occurred. But there wasn't a cost-benefits analysis available or considered. 

Whitis also asked about DeWine's suprise visit to the Sandusky County jail given the current AG special prosecutor's investigation of alleged sexual exploitation of a 21-year-old shizophrenic femaile inmate by corrections officers at the jail in January. The guards were fired after the Register reported details of the alleged incident from internal county reports.

"Is it approriate to hold a press conference at an agency you're currently investigating?" Whitis asked during Tuesday's press conference.

DeWine replied it was not inappropriate, and that he and the sheriff had not discussed the inmate abuse allegations other jail employees reported: That the inmate was allowed to remain naked and drenched in urine in a special holding cell and encouraged to masturbate and perform for the guards during an overnight shift. 

A Fremont police report suggested the alleged behavior was inappropriate; a county Jobs and Family Services report described it as sexual misconduct. Sandusky County prosecutor Thomas Stierwalt sent both reports to the AG's office in April rather than ask the Ohio Supreme Court appoint one. SHeriff O

The AG's office did not assign a prosecutor until earlier this month.  

Sheriff Kyle Overmyer reached agreements to pay two of the guards $5,000 each to drop efforts to overturn their terminations.

From: Jessica Cuffman <jessicacuffman@sanduskyregister.com>

Date: August 17, 2012 2:50:52 PM EDT

To: Dan Tierney <Daniel.Tierney@ohioattorneygeneral.gov>

Cc: Jill Del Greco <Jill.DelGreco@ohioattorneygeneral.gov>

Subject: Re: Media Q: Scope of Sandusky County investigation

Thank you Dan.

As we discussed on the phone, I understand that some of the answers to my questions may not be available until the conclusion of the investigation.

For the record, I am seeking clarification as to whether the AG's office will be investigate 1) policies and procedures of the Sandusky County Sheriff's Office that were in place before the January incident, and whether they are or were appropriate in handling such situations, and 2) the terminations of deputies Charles Pump and Franklin Kaiser, their appeals of their terminations, and the settlement agreements reached in which each of the deputies received $5,000, and they and Sheriff Overmyer's consent to non-disparagement agreements.

If the AG will look into those matters, I would like clarification as to why, and if not, same question.

I'll look to touch base with you Monday.

A Fremont police report suggested the guards behavior was inappropriate conduct; a county Jobs and Family Services report implied the alleged behavior to be sexual misconduct." Sandusky County  



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Dr. Eugene Sanders, the new interim superintendent of the Sanduaky Schools, will be the guest on next week's live BTL   program.

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