State director killed sex probe

Kasich's safety commissioner refuses further comment
Register
Feb 15, 2014

Ohio public safety director John Born continued to dodge questions about the state agency's personnel practices Friday.

Months after investigations into a range of allegations from domestic violence to child abuse and falsification against three State Highway Patrol troopers surfaced, Born's office has shut down all comment.

The last response to an inquiry was Tuesday from his communications director, Joe Andrews. 

"No complaint or allegation of misconduct concerning Trooper (Ricky) Vitte (Jr.) has been received by the Ohio State Highway Patrol," Andrews said. "No criminal charges have been filed in the case that precipitated the placement of Trooper Vitte on administrative duty."

A day earlier Andrews said the Patrol was reviewing information it had related to the complaint against Vitte. 

Vitte allegedly watched porn and masturbated with a pre-teen boy. Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt decided Jan. 10 not to file any charges, mainly, he later said, because Vitte could argue an affirmative defense he was teaching the boy to masturbate. Stierwalt has refused clarify or offer further comment on his decision, and he has failed to respond to a public records request for notes in the case file that might provide more information.

An Erie County child welfare caseworker asked for a criminal investigation after the agency learned of the allegations. The boy's mother told the caseworker she confronted Vitte and he admitted to her the incidents with the boy occurred, according to Sandusky County sheriff's detective Sean O'Connell. But Vitte was never interviewed by the sheriff's office during the criminal investigation. O'Connell wrote his report based on information provided by the child welfare agency.

When O'Connell and a deputy sought to question Vitte, he sped away from them driving a state police cruiser. He refused to talk with them after the chase ended. Vitte was not cited for any infractions as a result of the chase. 

His attorney, Dean Henry, said Vitte has been falsely accused and denies every allegation made. Henry said he conferenced with Stierwalt about possible defense strategies — but not the affirmative defense Stierwalt cited — prior to Stierwalt's decision against pursuing charges.  

Born was appointed director by Gov. John Kasich in July. He previously served as superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He reviewed questions submitted to him by the Register concerning the Patrol's personnel policies but declined to respond to them.

A shifting leadership hierarchy in the state Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Patrol, and other recent personnel decisions regarding Vitte and two other Patrol troopers has focused attention on the agency's personnel practices and standards.

Trooper Shane Johnson, 43, who has has been on paid sick leave from the Toledo post since August, was arraigned in December on a first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Patrol Sgt. Eric Gonzalez was demoted last year and transferred to the Fremont Highway Patrol post after he allegedly gave the Perrysburg Police wrong information in filing a report about alleged child abuse.

Vitte also was accused of a domestic violence incident in 2003 in which he allegedly beat a 5-year-old and head-butted the child's mother after she became upset. He pleaded out to a reduced charge of child endangering and was returned to full service as a trooper immediately after the case was resolved. In January, he was again returned to full service immediately after Stierwalt opted against filing charges.

Born, Andrews and Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston have all refused to comment on whether it is a violation of Patrol policy for a trooper driving a state police cruiser to evade a police stop by another agency. Andrews also on Tuesday said information he and Ralston had provided the Register earlier about the status of a review of the Vitte complaint was incorrect.    

In 2010, then-Gov. Ted Strickland ordered the director of the Department of Public Safety to fire two Ohio State Patrol troopers after the Register reported an incident in which one of the troopers dressed in a hooded makeshift KKK uniform while on duty. The second tooper snapped cell phone photos of the costume and texted them to other Patrol personnel as a joke.

The officers were later reinstated after arbitration, but one was later fired again after he attempted to blame a passenger in his car for a DUI crash the trooper caused. 

Born did not respond to a request on Wednesday for an interview. Andrews did respond to a followup request on Friday but the email he sent was not responsive to the questions he was asked.  

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NOTE: This post has been modified to reflect that Andrews did respond to an inquiry on Feb. 14. 

 

Comments

The Big Dog's back

You have to remember pooh hates Obama.

Steve P

piddle this article has nothing to do with obzo but since you brought him up maybe he can help. The pervert is an American citizen, not yet convicted of any crime, sounds like a prime candidate for an obzo drone strike or worse yet an obzo IRS audit.

Babo

He fled an attempt to stop and question about the activities with the boy by a LEO in his OHP cruiser. There's your "color of law" connection. Also, I suspect he told the boy the actions were OK because he was a LEO.

justice_forall2014

Or used his position as an Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper to intimidate him. Or the fact he had access to a gun at anytime to persuade the child into submission!

Steve P

I wish you were correct but the union connection will come to his defense and the current federal regime usually are on the side of the union hacks.

DGMutley

Babo, Thanks for the links!

Since Born isn't listening I'm sure John Kasich is! The contact email for Gov. Kasich requires the sender to fill out a form. If folks don't want to do that or want to email anonymously they can send an email to Gov. Kasich's personal aide.

Randy Crader
Email:
randy.l.crader@governor.ohio.gov
Office: 614-728-5163

Truth or Dare

How exactly would the passing of SB5 have any effect on the willful collusion/conspiring/obstruction of justice of Vitte or any LE within SC or any county for that matter, of O'Donnell, Henry, Stierwalt, Andrews, Born, DeWine, Kasich, and the list goes on? Oh, let me throw in the Coroner's offices as well.

This will be a political matter for me at voting time, and as I've said in the past I completely understand better WHY Ohio is a haven for Sex Predators and WHY Toledo is a hub for Human/Sex Trafficking! I'm hoping questions regarding such matters will be asked of any individual seeking voter support!

Educate yourselves and your young children people as to how to better protect them from such scum, because it's quite clear this State is ran by some sick F's that are more concerned about protecting themselves, each other and the tax-funded institution we call government, State or Fed.!

Steve P

Why was SB5 important, when it was repealed it gave politicians in the state cause to avoid any confrontation with the powerful public sector unions in this state. If the state attempted to do anything to this pervert, you can expect his union to battle for him and some federal judge to uphold his appeal with back pay.

The Big Dog's back

You're full of it pooh. Stay on topic.

Steve P

piddle once again defending a union hack no matter he did, much like they did you.. .

Truth2u

What if we all forwarded this article and other information to local TV stations for them to get investigating as well?

bama

Now because of this crap, honest cops will pay the price.

justice_forall2014

And that is why his fellow troopers need to stand up and demand his removal, instead of standing next to him and hoping the Ohio State Highway Patrol does something! It may take other officers of the law to speak out and say enough is enough!

kURTje

I agree with 1:42PM & 2:16PM posts. Any good L.E. Officer should make noise on this and/or distance themselves from "Trooper Dick Vitte." Shame to John Born you *^%$#2.

BabyMomma

At this point, who cares? These cocksuckers we have in charge are all garbage.

Julie R.

Agree.

John Harville

Once you understand Ohio children have no rights or protections you can more readily accept things like this. Oh, the laws are there, but prosecutors and judges don't want to enforce them.

Truth2u

Im beginning to agree with you, only certain children have rights and protections.

queenjhb

VITTE, we know you are reading this, c,mon , If you respect the law , and your position , you should resign. Save everyone [ including your alleged victims] all this trouble. You know no one has any respect for you, you are an insult to your position. Protecting & serving your community, duh not.

Truth or Dare

Hey John: It's been quite clear to me for decades that in-general children have no rights, let alone to protection. Oh, they sure like to talk the good/big talk, but it's all only lip service. You know, much like "tinkling brass." That mentality is just a part of the reason so many children have been abused and it's been covered!

By the way, the day where I, personally would be willing to "readily accept things like this" will never happen! Shame on any that would!

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