Highway Patrol looks at Vitte case

OSHP says it continues to look into allegations but hasn’t started an administrative investigation
Sandusky Register Staff
Feb 4, 2014
The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s review of reports and investigations into allegations a Highway Patrol trooper watched pornography and masturbated with a preteen boy is ongoing, according to a spokeswoman.

“The Patrol continues to look into the allegations that were brought forward and into the investigations that have already been completed by the sheriff’s office and Family Services,” public affairs commander Lt. Anne Ralston told the Register on Friday. “We have not initiated an administrative investigation at this time as we are still collecting and reviewing existing documentation”

Ralston said the Patrol “would normally wait until the criminal investigation is complete before an administrative review would move forward”

Sandusky County officials finished a criminal investigation into Trooper Ricky Vitte earlier this month, opting against filing charges.

Vitte was also accused in 2003 of beating a 5-year-old child and later head-butting the child’s mother when she became upset. He pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of child endangerment, allowing him to continue to carry a service revolver as a trooper.

Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt said his primary reason against moving forward this time was Vitte could argue he was teaching the boy to masturbate. A sheriff’s report also states the prosecutor’s office declined to seek charges because of the time that’s elapsed since the alleged incidents occurred — about five years ago — and the lack of any physical evidence.

Vitte’s attorney, Dean Henry, told the Register that Vitte has been falsely accused.

Stierwalt has declined to respond to inquiries from the Register for clarification, and he has ignored public records requests for his file notes regarding the decision.

Sheriff’s detective Sean O’Connell never interviewed Vitte during the investigation. Vitte was in an Ohio State Highway Patrol cruiser when he led O’Connell and a deputy on a short chase after they attempted to stop him to question him about the allegations. Charges related to the alleged fleeing were never considered.

Ralston declined to respond to questions about a trooper using a Highway Patrol cruiser to flee another law enforcement agency.

A Jobs and Family Services report filed late last year said family members reported Vitte had fits of rage and broke holes in walls and damaged doors when he became angry and also had punched and pushed another child, according to a sheriff’s report filed by O’Connell. The report also included allegations Vitte twice masturbated with the boy, O’Connell’s report stated.

Vitte refused to talk with O’Connell after the traffic stop, until he talked with his attorney, Henry.

Henry told the Register he later conferenced with Stierwalt prior to Stierwalt’s decision to close the investigation without seeking criminal charges.

Vitte was returned to active duty earlier this month, immediately after Stierwalt’s decision.

“As his employer, we are now looking into those allegations and the facts that have been developed through the other investigations to determine our next steps,” Ralston told the Register.

Comments

DickTracey

Stierwalt has opened the door and paved the way to a defense for all the perverts and child molesters in Sandusky County. If Ricky gets away with it, now all the perverts can get away with it.

All you have to say now when you are caught is, "I was teaching my daughter, the best way to please a man."

When some perv is caught with a 12 year old little girl just say, "I was teaching her how to use a tampon."

All of the parents, teachers, ministers and doctors of Sandusky County should be out in front of Stierwalts office picketing on behalf of the children in Sandusky County. Stand up to this prosecutor and support this child and any other future victim of molestation!

Babo

A Public protest is an excellent idea. Also, Rep Teresa Fedor of Toledo is a leader in the area of protection of child sex abuse victims. Her work has focused on child trafficking for sex but it has applications in this case too.

Here is is a link to a recent story on Rep Fedor's work to toughen criminal punishment against adults who buy children. (Note that another politician (an Older white male lawyer) is worried it would result in too many incarcerations)http://www.toledoblade.com/Polit....

Similarly, Dr. Celia Williamson of U. Toledo is a leading national expert of sexual exploitation of children. Governor Kasich had her write a report on Human Trafficking for the State in 2012 to establish a Task Force.

Both Dr. Williamson and Rep Fedor recognize that sexual exploitation of children is so difficult to prosecute because the predators are often men in positions of power such as police officers.

Here's the link to an interview with Dr. Williamson and a quote from her:

http://www.cleveland.com/open/in...

"It's not easy, Williamson said, because the people paying for sex are not just drug dealers and truckers, but also members of society's protected groups like businessmen, police officers, lawyers and politicians."

I found it very interesting that the OHP has dedicated a Toledo Post Trooper (where Vitte works) to the Lost Innocence Task Force in Toledo concerning child sexual exploitation. So you have an agency that is supposed to be on board with stopping child sexual exploitation, and instead it is not punishing men like Vitte or moving known offenders and abusers around.

There has to be some active groups in the Toledo area that would be of great assistance in organizing a protest and or applying political pressure.

Commenter

"He pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of child endangerment, allowing him to continue to carry a service revolver as a trooper."
- There is something SERIOUSLY WRONG with this - a state trooper can endanger a child and STILL BE A STATE TROOPER? Aren't state troopers to PROTECT citizens not endanger them??

Truth or Dare

The young man who reported the sexual abuse should contact RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. What's interesting is Ohio's Sexual Offense Statutes as well the Statutes of Limitations, especially in regards to: State vs. Sakr 655 N.E. 2d 760 (Ohio Ct. App. 1995). Wonder if that would apply here?

Wonder no more why Ohio is so attractive to Pedophiles! One need look no further than Ohio's Sexual Offense Statutes and our Statutes of Limitations.

Babo

I think because Vitte is a law enforcement officer and he arguably used his office to commit a crime or to avoid prosecution; one could argue that the statute of limitations does not apply as long as he is a law enforcement officer.

See Subsection (C)(1)(a) http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2901.13.

In the alternative because this case arguably involves mental abuse of a child, under Subsection (I) the statute of limitations doesn't start to run until the child is 18 or after it's reported to a state agency.

Cowboy

Looks like OSHP is just trying to keep up with the local cops that pee in front of their patrol cars and sleep with each other's wives.

kURTje

Its coming Ricky. You *&%$#@. You got the wrong people mad & they are tired of your attitude. Plan on looking for new employment.

queenjhb

I hope this teen age boy will come forward, very hard to do for him, He can be assured most people would support him.

Sal Dali

Vitte has conducted himself inappropriately with a young child, why in the H-E double L is he still actively working as a member of law enforcement? Ohioans do not want perverts patrolling our highways and molesting our children OR "teaching" them about the facts of life. His reasoning is not sound nor appropriate for a law enforcement officer; he is twisted. OSHP does not stand for Ohio State Highway Perverts does it? He has tainted the reputation of the entire agency, get him out of there.

justice_forall2014

The questions to ask would be, who will be the person/persons doing the investigation? Is there an expected time frame for a completion of this internal investigation? And if the patrol finds there to be no justifiable reason to remove Vitte from duty, who else could the public turn to for assistance with removing Vitte from his undeserved position of power?