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.


pigeon farmer

This man is a christian.

pigeon farmer

A man of god.

Truth or Dare

Pretty sure SC was rather reluctant to give these records up. Leaves me wondering if that "technical glitch" from the other day had anything to do with it? Good job SR on your reporting! No wonder they're haters!

This is an FYI to SC authorities, prosecutors, those in the rank and file of the State Hwy. Patrol, heck LE in general, School officials, Church officials, anyone in a position of authority that truly cares, and by the way I earned the right with 6 yrs. of experience followed by 44 of living with the effects. Thank God for healing!

When abuse like this happens and you're willing to turn a blind eye and just dismiss it, allowing anyone and especially one in a position of authority such as this to just walk, keep their badge, their gun, their FREAKIN JOB, some folks have a tendency to feel you must be doing the same. If not, what you are doing for sure is perpetuating (hope that's the right word) future victimization as well re-victimization! In my eyes, punishable under the law! God don't like such ugliness, so if you find the public lacking in trust and respect, you've certainly earned it, and in one of the most heinous ways possible!

Too the children involved and their Mothers, please know that thoughts and prayers go out to you for strength, healing and your SAFETY! Hold your heads high, as you certainly have nothing to be ashamed of!

Simple Enough II

Actually in the past, I have had to email the Sheriff Overmeyer in the past due the site not being updated, don't know if, it was due to only one person being responsible for posting the daily information or a problem with the website. Not defending him, just saying it does happen.

"The investigation started in November when the boy, who is now 17 and living in Erie County, filed a report with Erie County authorities in November, said detective Capt. Sean O’Connell of the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office."

"He told the Erie County authorities the sergeant, who works at the Toledo post and lives near Gibsonburg, had made him watch porn and masturbate in the sergeant’s home when the boy was 12, O’Connell said."

Truth or Dare

Thank you Centauri for that and the information/links you provide here. You're an Angel!


Thank you for reading my comments and information that I provide.


I second Truth or Dare's sentiments! Also did you catch the ridiculous assertion by Stierwalt that he would have a hard time (pun intended) proving the conduct was obscene.

Does anyone for a second doubt that "community standards" would view masturbating with a 12 year old while watching porn as obscene!

The Grand jury would indict within minutes.

Stop It

I would say, after reading all of Centauri's links (and comments) from all over the nation, this guy is pretty much toast.

John Harville

..and STOP IT, you would be wrong, as we now see.


Here is an example of an Ohio State Trooper getting fired for trusting some local Ohio police. Minor violation if any IMO.
"DELAWARE, Ohio — A State Highway Patrol trooper who was fired after failing to arrest a drunken driver during a stop on I-71 will get his job back, an arbitrator has ruled."

"Carpenter was convicted of being derelict in his duty because he did not arrest the man; an appellate court threw out his conviction in August, ruling that Carpenter was not responsible for Popoca because the two deputies were in charge of the scene."

Sometimes the powers that be will arrest or fire somebody to give OHIO citizens the impression that the law is being upheld.
These minor incidents are actually diversions to keep attention away from the real crooks who need to be sent to prison.

Choke the chicken with a minor watching maybe gay porn, domestic violence, etc... and no charges. I am not surprised about any story that comes out of corrupt Ohio.

Here is a remedy: A Federal raid to commence at the same time in Sandusky, Ottawa and Erie Counties (OHIO) and then connect the dots to other corrupt Ohio counties and state higher ups. Do know that it might take a few months or a year or two for the FEDS to collect evidence before an actual raid will commence.

John Harville

BOTTOM LINE. The trooper is back on the job SOLELY because the prosecutor exercised his right of 'selective prosecution' (only has to prosecute cases he thinks he can win) and refused to take this to a grand jury.
However... the Lucas County Prosecutor might be able to act since Vitte (not unlike pedophile priests) was 'passed along' to Toledo Post.
Keep watching... the OHP spokeswoman said the OHP has not completed its investigation.


John, Ottawa County's Sheriff Bratton thought he was home free too! When he stole $10,000 worth of FOJ Grant money, prosecutor Mulligan said he "didn't see anything criminal" and refused to take it to the grand jury.

Flash forward two years and the FBI just announced charges! Bratton just pled guilty, last week.


Actually Bratton's arraignment is set for this week. (1-29) He has agreed to plead guilty to one count of theft from programs receiving federal funds in an Information (not an Indictment). He was forced to resign his job as Chief of Police for Genoa because of his agreed plea with the feds.

His sentencing will likely be set for a future date at his arraignment. The fact that Bratton was charged via an Information and not an Indictment seems to indicate he is cooperating with the Feds. Got to believe the Feds were not happy to read Mulligan's statements at the time he dismissed Bratton's thefts as of no consequence. The feds don't usually come into a county for a small case unless it implicates much larger problems.

The use of an Information also is relevant to the Vitte case. As noted O'Connell didn't need to request an Indictment to charge Vitte with at least the crime of fleeing and eluding as it happened in his presence. He could have charged him directly and in fact had a duty to charge and arrest him at the time. Also, Stierwalt could have cut a deal with Vitte by Information to agree to a charge.

So it's pretty obvious to me that Stierwalt and O'Connell are both covering for Vitte by refusing to carry out their mandated duties. IMO, it's long over due that somebody file a Removal Complaint on Stierwalt for malfeasance in office.