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

John Harville

Hey DC!!!!
I think these stories would work well on the DC circuit. There's a pattern.
And the school superintendent convicted in January 2010 is due for possible Judicial Release.

Did I mention the judge in the Todd Helms criminal trial simultaneously was judge in his divorce - which still isn't settled since its inception in 2008 after he was arrested?

In an unrelated story the judge's family has a wrongful death lawsuit against the state representative's airport for a plane crash that killed members of her family the same day she was campaigning for judge.

John Harville

About 15 years ago in Clyde, a teacher/coach was accused by nine female students of sexual harassment/abuse. Offenses ranged from grabbing a girl's crotch while allegedly reaching through a group of students for the doorknob; holding a hurdler's foot while squeezing her thigh near her crotch to show her how the muscle should feel when she went over the hurdle; standing behind girls in English class while they read themes, placing his hand on her shoulder and slowly dropping it to her buttocks (with several students); hand a note to girls saying 'show me your tits'; approaching a girl from behind and putting his arms around her, grasping her breasts. The major one, observed by other students was on the first day when she was told to move from three different seats. When she asked "where would you like me to sit?" he replied "on my face would be a good start." John Meyers who was prosecutor at the time told parents he would not prosecute because he wasn't sure he could get a conviction. The teacher was allowed to teach eight more years until he could get full retirement - as long as he agreed to stop coaching girls.

Centauri

Thanks for the information John. There is a pattern to let male teachers get away from punishment but go after female teachers and over-charge them and also getting information from their cell phones.

You mentioned prosecutor John Meyers. A quick search online and I found this:

http://tinyurl.com/oc7jm4k

http://tinyurl.com/okxpspz

How about former prosecutor John Shimp?

http://tinyurl.com/lvrv46k

http://tinyurl.com/kyoxlaw

No jail for John Shimp.

Babo

Did you catch the name of the special prosecutor in the John Meyers case? It was Dean Henry. LOL, good old Dean prosecuting a prosecutor who allegedly harassed the clerk of courts. What was the outcome, does anybody know?

Also, the John Shrimp case is noteworthy for the special prosecutor in that case: Richard McQuade of Swanton Ohio. McQuade is well known on a website that profiles allegedly corrupt judges and attorneys. (noethics.net) McQuade went on to become a Common Pleas Court Judge and then was appointed to the US District Court by Reagan I think.

He gave up his federal judgeship after allegations of sexual harassment by Court staff. He then became President of Blue Cross Blue Shield of NW Ohio. He was forced out of that job as well again for allegations of sexual harassment.

He then was awarded a job as a retired visiting judge by former Chief Justice Tom Moyer.

Simple Enough II

I bet it was awarded all on his professional credentials, but all the other issues were kept quiet or confidential, like if you resign or are offered the opportunity to resign when confronted with allegations or factual evidence of wrong doing like stealing from your employer.

John Harville

In other classroom incident, a teacher told her students about watching a movie where a substitute shot students. She told the class, "some days I wish I had a gun up here so I could shoot all of you."
Clyde police and school officials investigated and decided she was 'just kidding' and offered counseling to students who were traumatized. The investigating CPD detective was... wait for it... her husband.
This is the same community where, 20 years ago, the FBI came to town to investigate a mailed threat to shoot the wife and young daughters of the newspaper editor after reports in the N-M and the local paper put the City Manager in prison for corruption.

Ctwhalers

Something definitely needs to be done in Sandusky county to get rid of this corruption so no one else has to go through this. Now you see why the limberios wasn't fighting so hard.

Truth or Dare

We really have to wonder why some folks choose to take the law into their own hands?! To all LE and the different agencies that could/should help, it's well past the time to cross that blue line, or that line of political courtesy and stand up for all children, women, and anyone/everyone else that your "brothers/sisters" feel inclined to terrorize. Being a hero takes courage, not just the passing of a test and the pinning on of a badge or winning an election, but DOING WHAT'S RIGHT, GOOD, FAIR AND MOST OF ALL HONORABLE!!!! Is there any honor left in Ohio?!

Centauri

"Is there any honor left in Ohio?!"

Nope!

Simple Enough II

Yes there is, but we tend not to beat our chest and claim such, they just go about and do the best they can.

Centauri

I see that one person posted some information that might not be true, probably from a source that provided information. I tried to verify the information by looking up the voting archives in the Sandusky County OHIO Board Of Elections online site but found no archives. I am very busy and perhaps I overlooked them.

http://www.sandusky-county.com/i...

John Harville

What was the info? Bd of Elc records are all on-line in most counties

Centauri

My mistake, John. Somebody provided me with the wrong information saying that the county prosecutor was a Republican.

Texx Reloader

Is this Dean fellow the same guy who worked for the Sandusky County Prosecutor a few years ago, and moved on due to a scandal of him stalking a female clerk of courts? Can't find anything, but seems I remember it was him.

John Harville

No. That actually was the Prosecutor of the day who had an extensive affair - and son he never acknowledged until years later - with said Clerk of Courts. He lost his law career when she married someone else, he decided he wanted a relationship with his son, went to her house and bloodied her door trying to get in.

Centauri

"He lost his law career when she married someone else, he decided he wanted a relationship with his son, went to her house and bloodied her door trying to get in."

John, was the prosecutor disbarred?

tzu4u

So, does this mean it is legal for adults to masturbate with children? Does this set a precedent for other people who want to have sex with children?
I am unable to comprehend how this man is not in prison. The fact that he is a police officer with a clean record is terrifying. How is this possible?

donutshopguy

Five years old is not a pre-teen buy any stretch of the imagination. The kid's not even in school!

He is showing a 5 year old porn. There is no justification for that.

A double standard is in effect here.

Matt Westerhold

Two separate incidents: One involving a 5-year old; the second involving a pre-teen. 

DickTracey

Two separate incidents involving young naked boys.

It seems obvious to me that this guy has a fetish for young boys. It seems he loved the act of spanking him so much that he couldn't stop, causing the bruises and bleeding.

He obviously does not like women, has no respect for them, and takes his anger out on them.

His behavior is that of a person who,was sexually abused as a child. Especially his alibi, defense , "I wanted to teach him". Many child molesters justify their actions using this same defense.

John Harville

He showed porn to/masturbated with a 12-y-o
He 'disciplined' a 5-y-o with an alleged beating for wetting the bed.

lugnut2511

Yet Mike Dewine and the boys don't investigate the entire offices of Sandusky county. Why does this guy still have a job with the Ohio State Troopers? Thought they were above and beyond the law, however this is a entirely new level for even them.

Texx Reloader

The fact that this even has to be discussed shows the moral bankruptcy, and legal idiocy of those involved. It is a well established fact that pornography is literally hardwired into a young adolescent males brain. Was this a "chick flick" porn? Showing sexual interaction between a couple based on affection and mutual attraction? Or was it the general "run-of-the-mill" fetish porn, of which is just degusting degradation of women? Any of it was probably illegal to view according to the disclaimer on "community standards." At the very least the man is guilty of violating his ethics orders, and possible of "contributing to the delinquency of a minor." Come on folks if there were more female politicians in this county would we really be having this discussion at all?

Babo

"Come on folks if there were more female politicians in this county would we really be having this discussion at all?"

Well this is part of the group of males who helped disbar and then repeatedly incarcerated a female attorney complaining about corruption (thefts of funds, case fixing to protect sex and drug crimes) in three counties (Erie, Ottawa, Sandusky) over ten years ago. Guess the good ol' boys really taught all the gals a lesson.

Then again there's Congresswoman Kaptur, but not sure if she qualifies as a woman as she sure doesn't seem to care about what happens to children and women in her district.

DickTracey

Hey Babo, (aka Elsebeth) is this the female attorney that they picked on?

NEWS
Elsebeth Baumgartner convicted
Posted by Pete Kotz on Thu, Nov 16, 2006 at 6:00 PM

Elsebeth Baumgartner may the most annoying woman alive. What started a decade ago as a beef over her daughter getting benched by her high school cross-country coach has spiraled into an all-out assault on the legal system in Ohio. She's sued literally everybody in her path — judges, prosecutors, former friends — leveling bizarre accusations ranging from child-sex rings to cocaine-smuggling to drunken exploits at Put-In-Bay. Among her many adventures, Baumgartner has been a prisoner, a fugitive leading police on a high-speed car chase, and a patient in a mental hospital. But no one's been able to shut her up. Yesterday Baumgartner was convicted of sending intimidating e-mails to a judge who presided over cases in which Baumgartner was being sued for defamation. And thanks to a little-known 1996 law called the "paper terrorism" statute, she now faces 75 years behind bars for her crimes. But even that won't silence her. She told a Plain Dealer reporter after the sentencing that she intends to take her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And trust us, she means it. — Jared Klaus

The State board of Pharmacy finds Elsebeth Csizmadia-Baumgartner to be impaired mentally to such a degree as to render her unfit to practice pharmacy, to wit: the Supreme Court of Ohio has stated: "we share the concern that respondent, who is apparently also a licensed pharmacist and has no history of professional disciplinary sanctions, may suffer from some mental illness or other disability that is compromising her professional judgment and contributing to the misconduct . . ." Disciplinary Counsel v. Baumgartner (2003), 100 Ohio St. 3d - 41.

Simple Enough II

Usually there is some truth to the allegations.

Babo

Again, you are confused about me. However, Elsebeth Baumgartner is the woman referred to in my post above.

I asked in another story since you seem to know so much about her and her case (even obsessed with her) to provide the nature of the threats or intimidating statements as they are called in this article. They are not published anywhere which is very unusual.

Instead you respond with a small story from Cleveland Scene which again doesn't provide any content for the statements.

For example, was it really a beef about her daughter or was it about alleged thefts of funds from the school system? The Port Clinton News Herald reported that Dean Henry was appointed as a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of thefts, obstruction of justice and other corrupt activity in 2000-2001. Maybe her daughter was not "benched" but harassed? Maybe Baumgartner was blocked and lied about by OC Law enforcement as appears to have happened by SC LE to protect some friends? After all the former Sheriff who was very active in going after her faces federal charges for theft in office.

Who are all the people she sued in her path? That's a ridiculous statement and you know it. Murray and Murray or McGookey probably have sued more people in a month then she ever did. Heck if one believes John Harville he was probably involved in more lawsuits than her and he's not a lawyer.

The "bizarre accusations ranging from child sex rings to cocaine smuggling to drunken exploits at Put in Bay" Are you serious?

Child sex ring allegations do not sound so far fetched in view of this story about the trooper and how the prosecutor and detective helped protect him. Who were the people she alleged were engaged in child sexual abuse? Could it have been OC LE, some politicians, or their friends?

Cocaine smuggling? Again not so far off in view of the fact that the Sandusky Register made a similar allegation (cocaine use) against the county prosecutor and a court of appeals agreed the paper had a basis to make the allegation because the AG's office had a credible witness who confirmed the activity.

Drunken exploits at PIB? Seriously, you don't think some area LE and public officials get drunk and do stupid things at PIB?

She was jailed as a result of a complaint by Kevin Baxter's former company Island Express complaining that her statements at a public meeting about them were false. But it seems her statements were about drug abuse, an alleged cover up of a murder mislabeled as a suicide and the real laugher warning council not to enter into a contract with the company as the contract was possibly illegal, and the company had a history of not paying its bills. (We all remember that the company stuck Erie County with over $200,000 in unpaid taxes and stiffed Port Clinton on its dockage contract) I got the information about her case from the Sixth District Court of Appeals.

A fugitive leading police on a high speed car chase? She argued that was about a bad misdemeanor warrant placed on her related to the Baxter case and the chase was not high speed according to OHP at the time. Funny that she was prosecuted to the max while a male trooper who allegedly abuses women and children can flee police and nothing happens.

A patient in a mental hospital? The docket in her case says she was placed there because she asked for a continuation of her trial because she wanted an attorney and was no longer capable of representing herself according to her doctor. So asking for an attorney qualifies a person jailing in a mental hospital? Better build a bunch of mental hospitals for all criminal defendants who invoke their right to counsel.

Then we finally get to the point, she was convicted (in Cuyahoga County) of sending intimidating emails to a judge presiding over a defamation case (in Ottawa County) in which she was being sued. Again what are the intimidating statements in the emails?

I read the Paper Terrorism statute (RC 2921.03) and it criminalizes false court documents not statements on the internet. Gosh does this mean you believe the Register and its many posters can be indicted for false statements made about Dr. Wukie a public official in order to get him to change his ruling too?

Then you go back to reposting the Pharmacy Board decision which is based on the Ohio Supreme Court decision neither of which as far as the record shows are based on a medical doctor's finding of mental illness. As we know from the Limberios case lawyers and public boards can't make rulings based on medical facts without a doctor's finding. Also, if she was mentally ill why did anyone take her allegations about them so seriously that they felt compelled to incarcerate her to shut her up?

Again, IMO everything you provided only tends to confirm your hatred of women in general and this woman in particular. Maybe you are one of the men who benefitted in some way from her incarceration?

Julie R.

* LIKE *

DickTracey

Does anybody hear Erie Voices?

I bet Kevin Baxter does!

Babo

So now you think Babo is the editor of Erie Voices or are you the Editor of Erie Voices?

Check the facts:

1) You've posted comments on other stories that are critical of Ottawa County officials (prosecutor Mark Mulligan) (former Sheriff Bratton) and State Representative Chris Redfern.

2) You've posted comments on this and other stories that are critical of Sandusky County LE, Prosecutor Stierwalt, and Dean Henry.

3) You posted links to stories about newspaper competition and or lawsuits concerning the Register and News Herald/Messenger.

4) You posted link to a Plain Dealer story concerning LE corruption in Cuyahoga County.

5) You have not published any comments critical of Erie County LE or Kevin Baxter. There have been some comments about Icsman and lack of prosecution in Municipal Court.

The facts indicate you appear to despise LE misconduct in every place except Erie County, where Erie Voices was published, and have an interest in following newspaper on line stories in the area.

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