Asst. prosecutor: Case not closed

Sandusky County investigation allegedly ongoing in Vitte case
Sandusky Register Staff
Mar 1, 2014

 

Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt may be looking for a redo on his decision to decline filing charges against a Highway Patrol sergeant who allegedly masturbated twice with a pre-teen boy while they watched porn videos together.

“I don’t think they’ve made a decision yet. There are still several things,” assistant Sandusky County prosecutor Norman Solze told the Register on Friday, referring to the prosecutor’s office.

Click HERE for past Trooper's Sex Lesson stories

In January, Stierwalt released a report of an investigation conducted by Sandusky County sheriff’s detective Sean O’Connell, in response to a public records request, and said he did not intend to pursue charges against Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Ricky Vitte Jr.

O’Connell, who never interviewed Vitte during his investigation, wrote in the report the prosecutor’s office opted to close the investigation without filing charges, citing the time that elapsed since the alleged sexual encounters occurred and the lack of physical evidence.

When Stierwalt was asked about the decision, however, he told the Register those weren’t his primary reasons.

His main reason, Stierwalt said, was because he feared he might not be able to convict Vitte.

Vitte could argue he was teaching the boy to masturbate, Stierwalt said. Since then, Stierwalt has refused to clarify or expand on that explanation, and he has not returned phone calls or replied to emails seeking additional information. He has also refused to meet with a Register reporter.    

On Friday, Solze, standing in for his boss, said the complaint against Vitte is still being reviewed by Stierwalt’s office. The complaint was made in November. When asked why Stierwalt said previously the investigation was closed, Solze offered a limited response.

“As far as I know, we haven’t come to a complete conclusion on this case,” he said, declining to offer any details as to what might be under review now that was not reviewed previously.

Vitte was in a Highway Patrol cruiser when O’Connell, who was in a sheriff’s cruiser, attempted to stop him to question him about the allegations. Vitte sped off, triggering a short chase in which the overhead lights on O’Connell’s cruiser were fully engaged. Stierwalt never considered any charges related to the chase.

Dean Henry, a Tiffin attorney who also works for Stierwalt, was Vitte’s defense attorney in 2003, after the trooper was charged with domestic violence for allegedly beating a child and the child’s mother. He was convicted later after the assault charges were reduced to a single count of child endangerment in a plea agreement with prosecutors. Vitte was then immediately returned to full service as a Patrol trooper.

Henry told the Register in January he is representing Vitte again in relation to the latest allegations.

Henry said he teleconferenced with Stierwalt prior to Stierwalt’s decision against pursuing charges and discussed possible defense strategies with him. He also told the Register Vitte has denied the allegations and is completely innocent.

Henry did not respond Friday when asked if he wanted to comment.

Vitte was immediately reinstated to full service in January, after Stierwalt’s office finished the investigation.

The Patrol opted against any disciplinary action against Vitte because he was not charged after the local investigation was finished.

Ohio Department of Public Safety director John Born has refused to respond to questions about the Patrol’s disciplinary practices, and a spokesman told the Register the Patrol was unconcerned about the short chase Vitte led using a Patrol cruiser.

Comments

Darwin's choice

Still kicking the can down the road. Vitte should at least be removed from duty....

justice_forall2014

Glad they aren't letting it just disappear. Lets hope for a conclusion soon!

observer1

Fleeing a leo with lights on is illegal and probably lead to a beat down if it were you or me (and esp if this moron was in pursuit.). But to flee in an OHP cruiser and not face any discipline? Really??

nofufucat

Maybe someone can clarify something I've heard. When a child is molested doesn't the child have the right to pursue charges after the child is 18?

Babo

Yes. The child victim can press criminal charges and sue the offender civilly. The statute of limitations doesn't begin to run until after the victim is 18 years old. So the child who was allegedly beaten on the buttocks can still press charges and sue Vitte as well as the child involved in the alleged masturbation training session.

If 18 or over they could press criminal charges in the Municipal Court with jurisdiction, and if not 18 a parent or some other person with knowledge of the alleged crime could press charges.

justice_forall2014

The VICTIM shouldn't have to pursue anything. After this obvious display of how power works, I can only imagine the defeated feeling this family must be experiencing. Again I urge other law enforcement officers and the powers that be in Sandusky County to step up a provide JUSTICE that is so deserved!

Ned Mandingo

Why couldn't it have been this guy who stopped Kevin Randelman?

Truth2u

The Sheriff is KING in the County and has all power over ALL law enforcement in his county, including the State Patrol! Why then wasn't Vitte charged with Fleeing and other charges that apply to his refusal to stop? If that were any of us we would be mangled with clubs, tasered and possibly shot. Remember the liberal Ohio Supreme Court justice who the State Patrol stopped for drunk driving and she was so drunk she could hardly stand up? She told the Troopers off and got into her car and drove away and the cops did NOTHING, they stood there and watched, KNOWING she was jeopardizing others on the road! The State Patrol is the most DISHONEST and UNTRUSTWORTHY law enforcement in the State of Ohio and they have NO ACCOUNTABILITY, and this governor refuses to make them walk a tight rope.

This article from the Register reveals that the powers to be are back tracking on their position, we all know they weren't going to do anything about Vitte but the Register FORCED them to reconsider and they now have to save face! The press is the KEY to our freedoms and justice, its an awesome responsibility which is difficult to maintain and I thank God every day for true investigative reporting, which my hat goes off to the Register on this report and several others.

I wrote our arrogant governor and DeWine and they don't have the courtesy or professionalism to even respond. Yes, I voted for them, but only because I thought their stench was a little less than the others running against them. (At least DeWine is a tiny bit better than Montgomery, but not much, all DeWine wants to do is collect money's)

sandman312

Your first paragraph has a few inaccuracies:

Firstly, Sheriff does not have oversight over all law enforcement. Secondly, the supreme court justice you are talking about was not allowed to drive from scene. Here is dash cam footage of the stop... http://youtu.be/RZ_x725KlQU

Truth2u

Boy, I sure remember her driving away :-)

But I disagree concerning the Sheriff, and if people don't become educated on the history of the Sheriff and their powers they will loose it.

"In each of the 88 counties of Ohio, the sheriff is the chief law-enforcement officer. His primary duties are to provide common pleas court services and corrections on a countywide basis, and full police protection to the unincorporated areas of the county. However, he also maintains full police jurisdiction in all municipalities, townships, and villages. In an effort to become consistent on a statewide level, Ohio sheriffs and deputies wear a standardized uniform, and all patrol vehicles are marked in the same manner."

The Sheriff is elected and other city and community police are employees of CORPORATIONS, the Sheriff does have power over them. No one except the Coroner can arrest the Sheriff, not so with the State Patrol, which I stand to claim violated the law by not pulling over for the Sheriff's deputy. if needed.

This has been ruled on here:http://www.dispatch.com//content...

I know several deputies who detest the State Patrol, they call them AAA with a badge. I respect Sheriffs, I do NOT respect the Patrol, they are arrogant as*s who think themselves above the law AND they are NOT elected which provides a check and balance, they are a Gestapo in my viewpoint. I remember when they had their special license plates beginning with SP so they wouldn't get any tickets. When our legislators consider a bill that THE VOTERS WANT the SP squeal like little PIGS.

My driving record is clean but I have experienced events with the state patrol in Ohio and Kentucky with their turkey shooting with traffic stops, and I wrote the Governor of Kentucky a letter and his personal investigator called me and emailed me numerous times to investigate my complaints of KSP abuse on I71 near Lexington, don't even start to wonder if Kasich would do that!

Babo

You are absolutely correct about former Justice Resnick. She was stopped in Bowling Green at a gas station after reports from I 75 motorists about her erratic driving. She told the officers to get lost and got back on I 75 headed south to Columbus in her state owned vehicle. She was finally stopped by a state trooper who she attempted to bribe by telling him as a justice she rules in the patrol's favor.

She was only charged with a misdemeanor DUI, and as I recall her BAC was well above 0.20. This indicated she had to have consumed about a liter of alcohol on a Sunday morning before deciding to drive to Columbus. She was not charged with improper use of a state vehicle (she did not have permission to drive a state vehicle drunk). She was not charged with felony fleeing and eluding for leaving the police behind in BG after being stopped. She was not charged with attempted bribery even though the bribe attempt was recorded on the trooper's dash cam.

However, it is unfair to blame the OHP for the under prosecution of Justice Resnick, as it was a direct result of the Bar and judges protecting the system. Her charges were drawn up by the BG city prosecutor and were never presented to the Wood County Grand Jury as they should have been had she been charged with the felonies she deserved.

This case was a great example of the double standard of justice involving LEO's prosecutors and judges in this state and how charges and case outcomes can be manipulated based on political influence. Like Vitte, she was able to drive away from a police stop without consequence. During the same general time frame, a local woman and former attorney who owned a website highly critical of area LEO's, and prosecutors tried to drive away from what she claimed was an unlawful arrest and had the book thrown at her.

Resnick's alleged alcoholism as well as her late husband's problems with alcohol (6th District Appeals Court judge) were well known in the Toledo legal community for well over a decade and nothing was ever done about it. That's the real tragedy for Ohio taxpayers and citizens who trust the judiciary to adjudicate their cases impartially and fairly.

People go on rightfully about how the Catholic church protected priests for years, but the Church hierarchy is in the minor league compared to the cover ups by LEOs, prosecutors, and judges.

.5 Unit

Truth2U:

Just to let you know, there is a fundamental difference between the Kentucky State Police and the Ohio Highway Patrol. I am sure you can find the difference on the internet if you don't believe me.

I find your statement to be very sad for several reasons.

1. Is it true the different LE agencies have issues with each other? Sure. Why don't you ask the Sheriff Deputies why they really don't like the Ohio Highway Patrol? Maybe one reason is because those in the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association are funneling information down to the County Sheriffs across the State that the Highway Patrol wants to take over the duties of the Sheriff (which would therefore make the Ohio Highway Patrol the Ohio State Police). Then ask these same individuals that you know this: If you were doing battle with an individual on the side of the road who was on PCP or some other drug and you needed back-up - would it be OK if a POS Highway Patrolman came to help?

2. You do not respect the Patrol? I would ask you the same question: If you were having car troubles or you were just in an accident-would you tell the Highway Patrolman you did not need his services because you do not respect him?

3. What does elected to a position have to do with anything? If you think being elected makes one far superior than those who are not, you must be living in a fantasy land with rainbows, cotton candy and puppy dogs.

Each job, each race, each sex, etc. has individuals covering the entire spectrum. You can categorize LE as all being POSs or even just the Highway Patrol based on a select few individuals and that would not be a fair assumption. There are good Highway Patrolman out there who I would think are as disgusted about this issue as most people are. But since you have stated you do not respect them, I encourage you to dismiss the next Trooper who comes to your aid instead of accepting aid from someone who disgust you.

queenjhb

justice for the kid is very important for him to go forward. He needs to be believed, heal & know in his heart that Vitte took advantage of him.

KURTje

Hey Ricky...Eric & I are laughing at you. You give decent L.E. a bad name.

Truth2u

Very scary to think that pervert has a license to arrest others and carry a gun at the same time. If the local Corporate cops arrested someone in general population they would have to provide protection for the slime, but the OSP does nothing, even when he speeds away from the local Sheriff! I would hope the Sheriff charges this creep for eluding and corruption of a minor, it needs to be done! Strange that a teacher at Ehove has sex with a student that was what, 17 or 18 and it was consensual (just pointing out the inconsistencies and I'm not approving of the slime-ball teacher) but this 'Patrolman' gets NOTHING? I'm disgusted beyond measure.

justice_forall2014

If the prosecutors office has reopened the case, it is my understanding that the Ohio Highway Patrol should have to put him back on restricted duty until the investigation is complete. Why has that not occurred? Any case that Vitte handles while on full duty while still being under investigation should be subject to intense scrutiny! Again it comes down to his word, and let's face it, his word doesn't count for much!

44846GWP

Who needs a lesson?

44846GWP

and NO I'm not offering! lol!

DGMutley

Thomas L. Stierwalt's Bio:

In November, 2000, Thomas L. Stierwalt was elected Sandusky County Prosecuting Attorney. The office has three Assistant Prosecutors and three Support Staff, as well as two Victim's Advocates.

Tom is a 1968 graduate of Fremont Ross High School, the University of Toledo where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1972 and a Juris Doctor degree in 1975.

Tom was engaged in the practice of law for 25 years and served as Secretary to the Fremont Civil Service Commission and as Acting Judge in the Fremont Municipal Court.

Tom and his wife Kathy have six children. Kathy is a registered nurse at Memorial Hospital and is a Major in the US Air Force Reserve.

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

holysee

Papa told Ricky, you'll ruin my home
You and that hand jive have got to go
Ricky said, Papa, don't put me down
They're doin' that hand jive all over town
The doctor and the lawyer and the Indian chief
They all dig that crazy beat
Way Out Ricky gave 'em all a treat
When he did that hand jive with his feet

Babo

It's interesting that Assistant Prosecutor Solze is speaking for the office. I'd really like to know Stierwalt's felony prosecutor Lorraine Croy's opinion on this case given that she is a candidate for Ottawa County Judge and as the felony prosecutor for Stierwalt she should have been consulted on the case.

Ms. Croy is endorsed by a lot of law enforcement officers and educators with access to children. Does she think it is acceptable for a LEO or teacher to masturbate with a 12 year old boy and does she support her boss's former position not to indict Vitte?

DGMutley

The article mentions that Assistant Prosecutor Solze was standing in for Prosecutor Stierwalt on Friday. He courteously answered the Register's inquiry with what he knew to be the case. This may not be an official statement from the office. Hopefully it turns out to be official. That's why I posted Prosecutor Stierwalt's bio. He looks like a stand up guy! It would be my guess that he and the folks around him in his life are appalled with the Ricky Vitte Jr. affair.

I would suspect Ms. Croy would maintain her allegiance to her boss and not comment except through the office.