Trooper gives sex lesson

Sandusky County prosecutor Stierwalt: No crime in highway patrolman's sexual encounter with pre-teen
Courtney Astolfi
Jan 22, 2014

An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper with a history of domestic violence won't face charges related to alleged sexual encounters involving a boy, Sandusky County Sheriff's Deputy Sean O'Connell said. 

Click HERE for more stories involving the Sandusky County Sheriff's Office

Trooper Ricky Vitte Jr. acknowledged to his wife that he watched porn with the boy five years ago and both Vitte and the boy masturbated together, according to a report by O'Connell. 

Vitte later told his wife he was attempting to teach the boy about sex, the report said.

Vitte said a dresser blocked his and the boy's views of each other as they both masturbated, according to the report, which also alleges there were two sexual encounters of that nature involving Vitte and the boy. 

"Rick's reasoning is the fact that he did not want (the boy) to feel pressured on feeling the need to have to have sex with someone, when he can fix those needs by masturbating to porn," O'Connell wrote after an interview with Vitte's wife.

Click here to read responses from O'Connell to questions posed by the Register

Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt opted against seeking an indictment. He declined to present testimony before a grand jury because Vitte might have presented a defense that justified his alleged actions, Stierwalt said.

This is not the first time Vitte's off-duty behavior warranted a criminal investigation.

Five years before Vitte allegedly masturbated with the boy, he was charged with domestic violence. When his then-girlfriend's 5-year-old son wet the bed, Vitte spanked the boy's buttocks until they were bruised and bleeding, according to a Sandusky County deputy's report.

When an argument ensued over the spanking, Vitte head-butted the woman, the report said. In a plea agreement, he later pleaded no contest and was convicted on a reduced charge of child endangering.  

Sandusky County officials initially did not provide the woman's identity to the Register — they redacted her name on an incident report — but the name was later included, without redactions, on a second copy of the report officials provided.  

Vitte's violent past resurfaced during the recent sex crime investigation.

During an interview with social workers, one of Vitte's children said his father has pushed and shoved him over the years, and punched him at least once, according to O'Connell's report.

The boy and his siblings also told investigators they saw their father punch holes in walls and doors during violent fits of rage. At other times, they watched Vitte drag their mother into another room by her arm and begin yelling at her, the report stated.

Vitte has been represented in the past by attorney Dean Henry, who has worked closely with O'Connell since November 2012 as a special prosecutor and defense counsel for Sandusky County working on the Limberios death investigation. 

Late last year, when O'Connell and social workers tried to interview Vitte about the most recent allegation, he sped away from his home in his Ohio State Highway Patrol cruiser. 

A chase ensued. O'Connell instructed the deputy driving to activate the overhead lights in his cruiser, and Vitte fled for about a mile at speeds of up to 60 mph before the chase ended, according to the report. 

"He was purposely fleeing the area to avoid confrontation and or an arrest," O'Connell said in his report. 

When Vitte finally stopped and O'Connell questioned him about allegedly masturbating with a boy, Vitte declined to talk and said he wanted to contact his attorney first. 

Vitte was not charged for fleeing from law enforcement.

O'Connell said that decision was made by the prosecutor, but Stierwalt said, "I suppose that's something; we could give a misdemeanor." 

O'Connell did not provide any further information in his report detailing whether he interviewed Vitte, or what he said, or whether he was represented by Henry or a different attorney in this latest incident.

In a Jan. 10 memo included in O'Connell's report, the detective stated the reason Stierwalt declined to seek charges was because of the amount of time that had elapsed since the incident, as well as the lack of physical evidence. 

It's not clear why the time element would be a factor, since the statute of limitations for felonies in Ohio is six years and the alleged sexual encounters with the boy happened five years ago. O'Connell also did not say in the report what physical evidence he was seeking. 

But when asked about the reasons O'Connell listed, Stierwalt said he reviewed the file again after the Register made a public records request. After that second review, he determined the main reason he declined to seek charges was Vitte could argue he masturbated with the boy while watching pornography to teach him about sex, suggesting it was not a crime for which Stierwalt could get a conviction. 

It's not clear why Stierwalt would preemptively decline to file charges. Generally it is incumbent on the suspect to present his own defense, rather than the prosecutor providing a defense for him. Stierwalt did not respond to written questions the Register emailed him, asking about these and other issues.    

O'Connell maintained the report had no discrepancies in need of correcting.

"I can't imagine a situation where that would be appropriate in our culture," clinical counselor Marlene Boas said.

"If he would've masturbated in the same room as (a pre-teen girl), do you think he would be prosecuted?" Boas said.

Vitte is a state trooper in good standing, according to his personnel file with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. His annual salary at the Toledo patrol post is about $83,000. 

His father, Richard Vitte Sr., is a retired Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper. 

Vitte's wife, and the past girlfriend of the 5-year-old child who was bruised and bleeding from his buttocks after Vitte spanked the boy and allegedly head-butted the woman, both obtained civil protection orders against Vitte in the past. 

The most recent CPO was modified, however, to allow Vitte to carry his service revolver so he could continue to work as a state trooper.   

Attorney Henry is representing Vitte Jr. in a court motion filed by Vitte's wife described as a "domestic violence petition filed with parenting affidavit." She appears to be seeking full custody of the couple's five children and has requested Vitte not be allowed access to them, according to court records. 

In response to the motion, attorney Henry appears to have successfully petitioned to allow Vitte to carry weapons and give him supervised visitation with his children. 

Henry declined to respond to the Register's inquiry. 

Click here to read written answers from Detective O'Connell.

Comments

rbenn

No charges? WOW!

publiuscuyahoga

http://www.publicsquarenews.com/...

"Vitte says he was attempting to teach the boy about sex, and used the sick reasoning that by masturbating together, the boy, a pre teen, would not feel the need to have sex with others. It’s unclear if the boy felt coerced or pressured though at that age, faced with a state trooper and presumably his gun nearby, how could he not feel pressured to comply with this man’s wishes?"

"Many in the community, including this publication, are speculating that Stierwalt doesn’t want to give this to a grand jury because he WOULD get an indictment and then be forced to prosecute a case that would be harmful to his career and personal friendships. We find it difficult to believe that anyone besides a government official would not be charged under this set of facts."

Babo

Wow, thanks for posting this link!

wally44824

Are you freaking kidding me? THIS "guy" belongs behind bars instead of putting people there.

mamaC

My o my Sandusky County continues to amaze me! When will people see there is a huge problem with this county!?

deertracker

This is just sick. The things cops get away with!!!!!!!!! SMDH!

SamAdams

My god, domestic violence? Sexual activity with a minor? And he's still a COP? What's wrong with THAT picture, boys and girls? More pertinent to this story, what's wrong with the PROSECUTOR?

Unassumer

and you should never spank children for bed wetting.

Finn Finn

I . . . this . . . what . . . I don't know what to say. This story can not be legitimate. This is beyond the pale!!

Babo

People can contact the Governor, Ohio Highway Patrol, and or the Inspector General of Ohio to request an official misconduct investigation as he is employed by the Ohio Highway Patrol and subject to oversight by these offices.

Also, it is not surprising that Henry defends him. Henry has a long history of representing men especially police officers or public officials who abuse women and children physically and or sexually. He appears to like and identify with them.

At this point people must be connecting the dots to recognize that SC LE, Dean Henry and Prosecutor Stierwalt are not interested in protecting or serving the public but rather in protecting and serving themselves and a close group of men who are above the law and can get away with anything. Moreover, the AG's office appears to know it and protect the misconduct.

Further the problem isn't limited to Sandusky County but includes Erie and Ottawa and likely other counties. For example wasn't the excuse for not indicting Erie County's prosecutor for drug abuse was that the allegations were too old when in fact they were within the regular 6 years statute of limitations at the time? Also, when a public officer is involved there is no statute of limitations as long as he remains in office.

Over in Ottawa County, the former Sheriff is facing a federal charge for theft in office. This is the same man who allegedly worked with Dean Henry and Prosecutor Mulligan to allegedly undermine an investigation into thefts of funds from a school system by political supporters in the county.

DickTracey

Speaking of corrupt LE, Cuyahoga County Sheriff supervisor was just indicted on 12 counts of theft, after stealing over $50,000

Babo

DT:

Thanks for this news item. It's Captain Michael Jackson who was in charge of the evidence room. This follows on the former Sheriff being convicted of theft in office; the chief deputy clerk of court criminal division convicted of theft in office; a corrections officer convicted of bribery and another Sheriff employee with theft counts. All under the nose of our Attorney General's office and the former county prosecutor Bill Mason.

DGMutley

Babo,

I agree with you on Sandusky County.

As far as Dean Henry goes he's just doing what he is being paid to do and it looks like he's been doing a very good job of it.

Ithink

Why am I not that surprised. Law enforcement protecting law enforcement. Who protects the citizens? God help us all!!

From the Grave

He should be yankin' Bubba for about 10 years.

he said she said

If this was Joe down the street, he'd be under the jail by now. Being in law enforcement shouldn't protect this guy from charges.

OMGreally

Someone should forward this off to the AG's office or an state ethics department and add it to the list of ways Sandusky County officials operate..

Babo

The AG's office has indicated in the past it has no problem with SC. Far better to get the Governor involved as was done years ago with the Troopers and the KKK pictures. This situation IMO is far worse than that as the County prosecutor and a detective appear to be enabling alleged misconduct.

Also the FBI and US Attorneys offices have jurisdiction under federal criminal official misconduct laws.

John Harville

This governor isn't going to do anything. It's an election year and, sadly, most Ohioans don't care much about the children in this state.

Babo

We disagree. It's because it is an election year, Prosecutor Stierwalt is a Democrat and Governor Kasich has made child trafficking a cause of sorts that he will do something.

Centauri

"Governor Kasich has made child trafficking a cause of sorts that he will do something."

My opinion is that Kasich will not weed out the Sandusky County OHIO corruption, There are Republicans in Sandusky County that Kasich will protect. The most that Kasich will do, if he does, is have Ricky demoted or fired. I will be posting additional comments as time permits me. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is a state police who will protect their own.

http://www.justice.gov/usao/ohs/...
"COLUMBUS –Benjamin W. Richardson, 47, of Powell, and a former Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to a total of 50 months in prison for participating in a mortgage fraud conspiracy, committing bankruptcy fraud, and tampering with a witness in a federal investigation."

"Richardson provided a known drug trafficker his cell phone number in case he got into trouble, and as result of this exchange, Richardson encouraged a fellow state trooper to show the drug trafficker leniency during a traffic stop."

Why did OHIO officials protect this crook?

http://www.sandusky-county.com/i...
Thomas L. Stierwalt

John Harville

This has nothing to do with the horrible crime of child-trafficking. This cop didn't put the kid out on the streets or sell him to other users or - as far as we know - film him.

Do not diminish the HORRORS of trafficking children by reducing it to the repugnant act of masturbating to porn with a minor - as bad as that is.

Young teen girls are sold on the streets of Sandusky and other communities, turned on to drugs to make them compliant, starved, abused and sold over and over to despicable men.

It's only on the governor's radar because he can't ignore it any longer.

Babo

No it's just about grooming a young boy for homosexual conduct. Get a clue. You have no idea of the advocacy work that I did and do in the area of child sexual abuse and abuse of women which leads to human trafficking.

It is you who are trying to trivialize this disgusting activity by a member of law enforcement (on the public payroll) by your attempts to hijack this story by linking it to a contract dispute between adults by a private employer over a morals clause.

sugar

You're gay obsessed.

lmalley77

I guess I will be the first one to say that this is the exact type of misconduct that Jacob Limberios' family is fighting to bring to an end! Does everyone REALLY think that they are just out on their own personal "witch hunt" now??? It is obvious that the misconduct goes way deeper than Jacobs story!!! We as citizens should be outraged at the atrocity of this, not only the actions of this "officer" alone, but the fact that he is STILL patrolling our streets and making $83,000 a year to physically abuse women and children as well as sexually satisfy his sick sick mind!!! DISGUSTING!!!

rbenn

Heres contact info for Ohio AG office http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.g...

The Answer Person

He must be catholic?

Babo

Don't know but believe Prosecutor Stierwalt is Catholic as are Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter and Sandusky Commissioner Murray. So what's your point?

wally44824

TAP, that comment was HILARIOUS.

sugar

lol

Pages