Grand jury indicts Vitte

Ohio Patrol officer denies he showed pornography to a boy and masturbated with him
Courtney Astolfi
Apr 10, 2014

An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper accused of masturbating with a pre-teen boy while the pair watched pornography was indicted this week by a Sandusky County grand jury, months after officials dropped the investigation and said they would notpursue charges.

Sgt. Ricky Vitte Jr., 34, of the 900 block of County Road 42 in Helena, was charged with disseminating matter harmful to juveniles — one felony count and one misdemeanor.

If convicted of the fourth-degree felony, he could serve six to 18 months in prison and pay a $5,000 fine. If convicted on the misdemeanor, he could see up to 180 days behind bars and a $1,000 fine.

The Highway Patrol placed Vitte on paid administrative leave Wednesday morning, after they learned of the indictment. They have also launched an administrative investigation into the alleged sex acts, said Sgt. Vincent Shirey, an assistant Patrol spokesman.

The goal of the investigation: “Just to do a thorough investigation on the allegations and see what’s true and what’s false and what exactly happened,” Shirey said.

Sandusky County assistant prosecutor Norman Solze offered few additional details on the decision to pursue charges, other than saying Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt was the prosecutor assigned to the case.

Solze added, however, that the decision to present the case to a grand jury was made collaboratively by employees in the prosecutor’s office, and not by Stierwalt himself. 

The indictment comes after about three months of conflicting information presented by public officials associated with the case.

In January, Stierwalt said he declined to charge the trooper because Vitte could argue he was teaching the boy about sex. In a police report, however, Sandusky County detective Sean O’Connell said Stierwalt’s reasoning for not charging Vitte was due to the length of time that had elapsed since the alleged incident, and the lack of physical evidence.

Ohio State Highway Patrol employees had also offered murky answers about the overall case, as well as the Patrol’s stance on Vitte’s employment and the status of an administrative investigation.

In late February, Ohio Department of Public Safety spokesman Joseph Andrews said there was nothing the Patrol could do in Vitte’s case, unless charges were filed.

— RECENT ALLEGATIONS

Sandusky County deputies began investigating Vitte late last year, after the boy and his mother spoke to Erie County Job and Family Services.

On two occasions about five years ago, Vitte allegedly showed the child porn videos while he and the boy masturbated in the same room, the boy, now a teen, told social workers. When confronted with the allegations, Vitte told the boy’s mother he was teaching him about alternatives to sexual intercourse, according to O’Connell’s report.

A brief criminal investigation ensued, during which O’Connell never interviewed Vitte.

O’Connell did, however, go to Vitte’s home in an attempt to interview him, but when Vitte arrived in his Patrol cruiser and spotted the deputy’s cruiser parked outside, he sped off, the report said.

Vitte allegedly led O’Connell on a mile-long chase before pulling over and saying he needed to talk with his attorney, Dean Henry, the report said.

For his part, Henry has been working with O’Connell and Stierwalt for more than a year as a special prosecutor for the Sandusky County prosecutor’s office.

— RAP SHEET

This recent indictment is not Vitte’s first run-in with the law outside of his duties as a trooper.

In 2003 he was charged with domestic violence after he allegedly beat a 5-year-old boy until his buttocks were bruised and bleeding, then head-butted the boy’s mother when she became upset, according to a police report. 

Henry successfully defended Vitte in that case, pleading down his domestic violence charge to a lesser charge of child endangering.

Word of Vitte’s violent tendencies resurfaced late last year when social workers spoke with his children. The children 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 yell at her, the report stated.

Comments

AnAmerican

It's about time!

I feel sorry for the Mrs.

A straight man, and/or a man not "interested" in young ones, would never, ever be involved in something like this. I hope his family can recognize the situation for what it is and can move forward.

bnjjad

Please don't bring straight/gay into this. And if you didn't mean it that way, hopefully someone else doesn't go that route either.

AnAmerican

jeesh...I could care a less if someone is gay or straight, obviously my point was he is married to a female and was involved with a same sex child.

Peninsula Pundit

Dash your hope against the cold shore of reality.
The connection is clear and irrefutable.
Sick is sick.
Or is it your claim that this nascent relationship could turn into something 'beautiful' in a few years?
I'm sure you would find support with NAMBLA.

whattheBucks

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

AnAmerican

The history of violence is incredible, how did this person even remain a state employee all this time?

deertracker

He is still a paid state employee. SMDH!

AnAmerican

You are right, and it is disgusting how our tax dollars are utilized.

DGMutley

Highly paid.

Truth2u

Matt, you better not speed, you'll get more punishment than this guy has, and make SURE you stay out of Sandusky County!
Imagine those arrested by this creep just finding out about his actions. Do you think they may become upset with such hypocrisy of this Government, arresting the little people for going 75 in a 65 and then the Patrol lets their own molest kids and does nothing?

It doesn't take much to know this guy is guilty, speeding away from an investigator speaks volumes. He won't get much from this because he's part of the 'good o'l boys'. REAL men wearing the badge would have DEMAND an investigation or cuffed him themselves long before now, but strangely his fellow workers have said NOTHING and done NOTHING. It disgraces mocks the names of those who died in the line of duty who believed in what they did. Doesn't speak well of the State patrol or Sheriff who KNEW what was going on and didn't put it in overdrive to dig into the facts and get this slime behind bars!

AnAmerican

"NO government agency should belong to a Union, they are suppose to work for US, and we deserve better."

Nor should any government, especially federal, be endorsed or supplied with millions of dollars in union dues/funds.

Excellent statement and I couldn't agree more.

Truth2u

I accidentally took my statement out when I edited it. I have vision problems and the little box to type makes it difficult to review and see what I typed.

Anyway, I stated that the Union has harmed our judicial system, protecting such scum as this. It also gives the employee the idea that they are a band of brothers instead of a SERVANT of the people. Its MORE than a job. No government job should be protected by a Union, they work for us the people and the LAW. The Union will get this guy PAID leave. Try that in any other work force, Get paid for violating your oath, molesting kids and fleeing an investigative officer. All which I consider a crime which is excused by the Unions.
BTW, Past member of 480 so I don't want to hear your BS about how I never was a member of the 'brotherhood'. Was also a member in the Food Service union in NYC. So shove your typical socialist propaganda with me.

Peninsula Pundit

No harm has been done to ANYTHING by the benevolent dollars flowing from corporations and lobbyists into our judicial and legislative processes?
I'll agree with the union statement if you'll addend your comments to include mine.
Otherwise, I will shove you, along with that tired old 'socialist' saw you play,exactly where they deserve to be.

DGMutley

Truth2u,

You can enlarge the comment box by dragging one of the sides with your mouse. :-)

Truth or Dare

How did he remain a state employee? Two words, Stierwalt and Henry. This article states the charges were brought by employees within the prosecutor's office, yet Stierwalt is the prosecutor assigned to the case. I see another plea bargain in the works, just like they did when he beat the 5 yr. old bloody. After all, in order to be able to remain on the job he needed to be able to keep his weapon for work, lawfully, right?!

If Stierwalt was assigned to this, and doesn't to it voluntarily, he should be forced to recuse himself from this case. The absolute bias which just continues here has a stench that is repulsive!

Babo

I agree with you. Stierwalt has clear conflicts of interest in that he knows Vitte and obtained a contract for his attorney Henry as special prosecutor. Look for yet another "special prosecutor" to be named as Stierwalt will claim due to his conflicts his entire office is disqualified. The Special prosecutor will then cut a deal for the misdemeanor that will enable him to keep his job. Also Henry ethically should not defend him as he continues to represent as far as we know Sandusky County as a special prosecutor.

I wonder if Vitte was arrested on a warrant and had to post a sizeable bond as anyone of us would have been given his history of fleeing police and his prior criminal child endangerment conviction. My guess is he received all sorts of special treatment.

KURTje

Vitte needs to go & with your vision & age truth2 you need to quit driving for OUR safety. Blaming a Union is dumb on your part. How about Nixon & Agnew? Those ***** did not have a Union.

Peninsula Pundit

Spot on, Kurt.
Here we have a point we can all agree on, ridding the area of bad actor, and someone has to start the divisive BS about something unrelated to the topic.
I will light a candle at this time and note that Dollar General sells reading glasses for $8 a pair, Truth.

Blue.Streaker

This is a case where the allegation is so offensive that it's easy to join the howling mob and cry out for this guy's scalp. Happens all the time. That's why the law does not permit citizens to swear out criminal complaints without involving official law enforcement.

Let's jump ahead a few months now to a jury trial. It's probably going to be held somewhere like Dayton or Zanesville because of all the pretrial publicity around here. Gotta get a jury that hasn't heard all the talk.

Now, what is the actual evidence? A teenage boy describes unseemly events he says happened five years ago. OK. What else? Well, .... uh,.....the events are really unseemly, and the guy is a patrolman. OK, but what other evidence is there? Well, the boy describes the movie in great detail. Could the boy have seen the same thing on his laptop?

The boy is now cross examined by a skilled experienced defense lawyer. He is asked deeply personal questions which would be irrelevant in almost any case except this. He is expected to be consistent in every detail and consistent between every single time he has described what happened. He will be asked whether and how Vitte disciplined him and whether he resented it. He will be asked whether he has ever lied about anything, and to give examples of what he has lied about in the past. The lawyer will find inconsistencies and will emphasize them.

Vitte will likely not testify. If he does, though, he would probably say he loves the kid and has no idea why the kid is saying these terrible fabrications.

In the end the jury will have a difficult time. They will not know about Vitte's prior record. Many of them will believe the kid, but people have become conditioned by TV shows to want corroborating evidence. Where is the DNA? Where is the polygraph? Where is any kind of evidence to corroborate what the kid is saying.

There will be 12 jurors. If any single ONE of them buys into the defense or is not satisfied convicting a LE officer of a felony, ending his career, for 5 year old non-violent uncorroborated allegations there will be no conviction.

Now, let the name calling and insults begin. No, I am not defending a child molester. But I happen to know a little bit about the system and I am afraid that all the jubilation and self-congratulation I see on here may well be temporary.

And if Vitte is not convicted because a jury was not satisfied with the evidence, who are you going to blame?

Right.

DickTracey

Blue.Streaker, you are very disturbing. The very first time you joined the comment section and created a screen name, was to comment on the Vitte stories.

It is obvious that you are on TEAM VITTE. Your comments are laced with "Hope-ium" that Ricky gets off.

Have you forgotten that Vitte admitted to the boys mother that he did this? He offered an excuse for his sick behavior and lied and said that he put a dresser between the two of them. (like that would make it ok)

Many, many, cases have been won, based only on "he said, she said". With back up of corroborating wittiness testimony, in this case, the boys mother. (or possibly a sibling, social worker, counselor, teacher, aunt, etc. that the boy may have confided in)

Let me point out that all of the hundreds of cases of molestation of little boys in the Catholic church, took place many years later, with no DNA, and just testimony of the now grown men, and they are all winning.

Blue.Streaker

Sorry to disturb you.

I don't know, as a fact, whether Vitte actually did these things or not. Do you?

Unless you have independent factual knowledge of this case, why does it bother you so much that I point out the other side of the issue?

If Vitte is guilty he should be convicted and sentenced. If he is not, he should not be convicted.

I seem to be the only one willing to consider both possibilities.

worddrow811

Blue streaker, you left out three other possible scenarios. He'll quietly retire, he might possibly pull a suicide by cop or karma will take care of it..

Babo

Blue Streaker:
This is a case where the allegation is so offensive that its easy to join the howling mob and cry out for this guy's scalp. Happens all the time. That's why the law does not permit citizens to swear out criminal complaints without involving official law enforcement.

Response: Pursuant to ORC 2935.09 and Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure governing Criminal Complaints, any citizen may swear out a criminal charge with the Municipal Court Clerk of Court. The Clerk then refers the complaint to the judge or a prosecuting attorney for review on whether the Criminal Charge will be filed, not law enforcement.

Blue Streaker:
Let's jump ahead a few months now to a jury trial. It's probably going to be held somewhere like Dayton or Zanesville because of all the pretrial publicity around here. Gotta get a jury that hasn't heard all the talk.

Response: It is next to impossible to move criminal cases for prejudicial publicity anymore. If the Sowell and Castro cases in Cleveland were not moved a small timer case like State v Vitte will not be moved.

Blue Streaker:
Now, what is the actual evidence? A teenage boy describes unseemly events he says happened five years ago. OK. What else? Well, .... uh,.....the events are really unseemly, and the guy is a patrolman. OK, but what other evidence is there? Well, the boy describes the movie in great detail. Could the boy have seen the same thing on his laptop?

Response: Were you in the grand jury? No? So you have no idea for the basis of the Indictment. We do know that Vitte himself admitted the acts and those statements are admissible as statements against self interest.

Also, the charge is disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and whether a minor can view the same material on a lap top is not relevant to the charge. It is the fact that an adult provided a 12 year old minor with the harmful matter and masturbated in his presence in other words a live porn act. A juvenile can view alcohol too, but if an adult furnishes it to the juvenile and forces the juvenile to drink it that's a crime.

Blue Streaker:
The boy is now cross examined by a skilled experienced defense lawyer. He is asked deeply personal questions which would be irrelevant in almost any case except this. He is expected to be consistent in every detail and consistent between every single time he has described what happened. He will be asked whether and how Vitte disciplined him and whether he resented it. He will be asked whether he has ever lied about anything, and to give examples of what he has lied about in the past. The lawyer will find inconsistencies and will emphasize them.

Response: Wow, you must be pretty desperate to try to intimidate the victim into not testifying. This young man will be a very sympathetic witness and a defense attorney would only inflame the jury by attacking the young man.

Blue Streaker:
Vitte will likely not testify. If he does, though, he would probably say he loves the kid and has no idea why the kid is saying these terrible fabrications.

Response: And Vitte would be lying as he already admitted the acts to the victim's mother and I believe a law enforcement officer. He would also open himself up to attacks on his character including prior sexual abuse of young males, and testimony concerning prior violent acts. Also his flight from the police officer will be offered as consciousness of guilt.

Blue Streaker: In the end the jury will have a difficult time. They will not know about Vitte's prior record. Many of them will believe the kid, but people have become conditioned by TV shows to want corroborating evidence. Where is the DNA? Where is the polygraph? Where is any kind of evidence to corroborate what the kid is saying.

Response: If this goes to a jury (Vitte and his lawyer would be crazy to take this to trial); the young man will be very credible and the jury will be very sympathetic to him and want to convict a pervert cop in record time.

Blue Streaker:

There will be 12 jurors. If any single ONE of them buys into the defense or is not satisfied convicting a LE officer of a felony, ending his career, for 5 year old non-violent uncorroborated allegations there will be no conviction.

Response: It will be very important if this goes to trial that the jury be pristine (no jury tampering) and that there is no witness or jury intimidation as often happens with law enforcement cases. However you seem to be suggesting that intimidation and tampering are foregone conclusions in this case.

Blue Streaker:
Now, let the name calling and insults begin. No, I am not defending a child molester. But I happen to know a little bit about the system and I am afraid that all the jubilation and self-congratulation I see on here may well be temporary.

Response: You certainly appear to be defending an indicted pervert law enforcement officer. You are right about one thing: You know a LITTLE BIT about the system yet seem intent on using that little knowledge to undermine the administration of justice in this case.

Blue Streaker:
And if Vitte is not convicted because a jury was not satisfied with the evidence, who are you going to blame? Right.

Response: If a jury finds him Not Guilty on all charges after a fair trial, I'll respect the jury verdict. However, this case will IMO be resolved through a plea bargain to save face for the State and Vitte.

Blue.Streaker

Well, Babo, it looks like you have all the answers. No need for a trial, let's just throw Vitte in the clink.

I stand by each of my statements. Your responses read like a wannaba prosecutor who should stick to real estate.

Babo

And yours like a narcissistic defense attorney who lurks in bars and bordellos comparing notes with sadists, misogynists, and child molesters on how to avoid prosecution and conviction.

All for letting Vitte have his day in court but believe he'd be a fool to take it to trial

justice_forall2014

There had to be enough evidence in order for the jury to determine that Vitte should be charged. As I stated previously, obtain your own copy of the public records so you can be more informed rather than just opinionated. I also stated previously, this is just the tip of the iceberg, Vitte's secrets can't be kept forever.

ContraryAnn

There will be "character blood" shed by you for giving quite an accurate view of the judicial system and how it works. The only exception may be in how the News-Messenger carries the story for, despite its worthiness, the SR doesn't have a Gannett Network that sends stories like this all over the nation.
Mr. Jackson just got a quick lesson in "freedom of speech and press" when the Prosecutor demonstrated his office is not required to talk about its intentions to take evidence to a grand jury (BTW this GJ term ends April 30)

Peninsula Pundit

So,blue,do you disagree that cops should be held to a higher standard than the regular citizen who doesn't get a fancy uniform, a fast cruiser and carry a sidearm?
Those items alone signify that the public has placed in that individual a trust and confidence above and beyond what they might expect from a regular citizen.
It is only reasonable to assume that the public would expect the officer to adhere and live up to those standards.
When they do not, whether they are jailed or not, they are done as an enforcement officer.
Let the jury decide what it will.
But I'll ride more comfortably knowing that he is no longer in a cruiser or on the taxpayer's payroll.

Blue.Streaker

In theory all citizens should be held to the same standard. In reality, we, as a society, expect more from law enforcement because of the things you point out.

However (hypothetically, of course), what if a jury decides that it does not believe the allegation, and instead thinks it was fabricated by a teen as payback for having to do unwanted chores, etc. Within the realm of possible, right?

In that case where does it leave us?

(Not advocating, just sayin'.)

Peninsula Pundit

I address your point here at the end of my last post.
And do so only because admissions have been made by the suspect of what went on.
As a American citizen, 'reasonable doubt' must still be in play and he may well beat the charge.
However, as an officer, he's done, regardless of the verdict.

ContraryAnn

I disagree that cops should be held to a higher standard...or a lower standard.
I believe in equality before the law.
There are a lot of people who drive fancy cars and carry sidearms.
If the young man is even called, he will face harsh scrutiny. The mother may not be able to offer anything but disallowable hearsay testimony unless she witnessed the act.
And no, I'm not condoning the alleged act, merely speaking from a victim's experience.

DickTracey

You are absolutely, positively wrong, ANN!

The mother can testify that the son became withdrawn after the incident, or had behavior problems, or nightmares. She can also testify that she witnessed him shy away from Ricky, or acted out against Ricky. She can testify that he became, moody and his grades suddenly declined.

The boys change in behavior after he was molested, and manipulated is definately pertinent to corroborate his testimony.

"The boy will face harsh scrutiny" I don't know if you hope he reads this and are trying to intimidate him, or if you are just absolutely ruthless! Either way, you are hoping for further punishment to a victim that needs love and approval, not your rudeness!

I hope you do not have children.

Blue.Streaker

Mom could testify to these things only if the State is going to produce an expert to say they are symptoms of a relevant conclusion. Do you know for a fact that the boy's behavior changed in these ways, or are you speculating?

Babo

Note the factual history states that the victim and his mother spoke with reported the matter to Children's Services who are experts in the investigation of child sexual abuse. Thus, there should not be any e any problem with corroborating testimony.

Blue.Streaker

Not so fast.

Experts in child sex abuse hold MD or PhD degrees. The investigators at Children's Services are investigators, gathering facts. They generally are experienced, but they are not experts who are qualified to give an admisible opinion in these matters. Sorry.

Babo

No, you're wrong. Child abuse investigators may testify just like police officers to their experience in these investigations.

Why are you such an advocate of making it difficult for sexual abuse victims to seek justice?

Blue.Streaker

You are partly correct, but not close enough to make it work here. There have been Ohio cases in which Children's Services investigators have been found adequately experienced and educated to qualify as an expert in child sex abuse cases. The Boston case cleared up a lot of that.

However, in this case the following would happen:

1) The mom, siblings, friends, teachers, etc., would be ready to testify. Defense counsel would object, asking what is the relevance of their testimony. Prosecutor would say it is foundational testimony to support an expert opinion that these symptoms are indicative of the bad act alleged. Judge would inquire as to who the expert is (and defense would object at not being discovered expert opinion.) Unless case worker can convince judge that she has the necessary expertise in interpreting causal relationships to behavior, the foundation witnesses are not relevant. Objection sustained.

2) The solution is to have an expert who can put the foundational testimony together and express a meaningful opinion. They are available in the psych wards of children's hospitals.

3) I'm not an advocate of making it difficult for sexual abuse victims to seek justice. But I've been exposed to many, many of these cases and I've seen what has worked and what has not.

DickTracey

Blue.Streaker, aka Negative.Nancy, No, the state does not need to produce an expert. You have no idea what you are saying, and your comments prove that.

The mother can simple testify to how her son was so outgoing, extroverted and happy before the incident. And then she describes his temperament after a grown man made him get naked, watch porn and play with himself. She could also bring grade cards, detention slips, notes from teachers or journal entries, to back up her own testimony.

As a matter of fact, his siblings could testify to his change in behavior and so could a teacher or coach. The more the merrier.

There is no need to have an expert back up the mothers description of her sons behavior.

Blue.Streaker

Dick: Why do you want the prosecution to do a half-assed job of presenting its case? I don't know (do you?) whether all this testimony (mom, grade cards, teachers, siblings, coaches) is available. But if it is, why not present someone who has invested their career working with young people who have experienced way-too-early sexual exposure? You have an opportunity to tie it all together , and you would prefer to let the pieces lie there, unconnected? Remember that in closing, the prosecutor cannot argue that these unconnected items add up to a certain outcome unless it is in evidence.

I'm not being negative. If the state has this kind of evidence I want them to use it effectively. Don't you?

Blue.Streaker

I asked whether you have independent knowledge about these behavioral changes for a reason. Assuming these behavioral changes actually occurred they should be used. However, if there were no significant behavioral changes, would you allow that fact as evidence that nothing actually happened? Remember, you can't have it both ways.

Babo

The points and arguments you raise could be made about every case. We could speculate for days about how a trial may be presented. So why are you so concerned about this particular case and making Vitte's arguments for him?

ContraryAnn

Been there Dick? Obviously not. Changes in behavior can relate to many causes from bullying, to breakup of parents, to a demanding teacher,.. and when did the concerned mother seek counseling for her troubled son? Did school counselors note changes and talk with the boy and/or suggest/provide further counseling?
Testify to his changes in behavior? He was a hormonal boy facing all kinds of challenges.
Nobody here is advocating for the alleged abuser.
Many of us are TRULY advocating for this young man and making sure he doesn't get victimized by the system and 'lost' in the sharkfest trying to get the officer.
Some of us have empathy, having 'been there'

ContraryAnn

Ya know Dick, some of us speak from personal experience.
She can testify to all those things. And a good defense attorney will ask questions about other things and persons in the boy's life - and why it took her (or the young man) six years to report it. Not necessarily fair, I agree, but that's what a defense attorney is for.
The son became withdrawn after the incident (ONLY that incident?)..or had behavior problems or nightmares. If she knew about the incident, why was Ricky even around for the teen to "shy away from" or "act out against"? Defense: was she complicit by allowing Ricky to remain around the boy?
"the boy's change in behavior after he was molested and manipulated" is not in the information presented... they masturbated together, but each other? And, again, why didn't she take action immediately to find out what was part of the 'changes'?
I AM NOT DEFENDING the cop. But IF there is not a conviction - or a misdemeanor that lets him keep his job - what long-term effect will it have on the young man?
I could lay it out for you but I'm just not willing to share.
Unless you've walked this particular highway, you should just shut up!

Babo

Your comments are confusing. You seem to suggest that it is futile for victims of sexual abuse to seek justice. Don't you think regardless of the outcome that it is best for the victim and society to at least try to seek justice? Should we not be able to rely that the Judge assigned this case will ensure fair administration of justice and not allow badgering of witnesses?

Instead of speculating on what a defense attorney may do to the victim on the stand, shouldn't we resolve to ensure that the victim feels empowered? For example, in the Toledo Blade's story on this topic (written by staff with no author) it is reported that Dean Henry represents Vitte. That is an unconscionable conflict of interest given his prior relationship representing Stierwalt and OConnell and this newspaper and readers could though the power of the press ensure he is disqualified from the case.

The Toledo Blade also failed to report the masturbation allegation (live porn show) of the Indictment. The matter disseminated does not have to be printed, video, or digital it can be live action. In other words the trauma of experiencing a grown man who is a police officer masturbating while watching pornography is the more serious aspect of the allegations.

I believe the young man will come out of this just fine if the community rallies to ensure he feels safe and free of retaliation. I will grant you that with Stierwalt's history and his friendship/attorney-client relationship with Henry there are reasons to believe that his office may not protect their own witness.

ContraryAnn

Futile? No. Incredibly difficult? YES!. "regardless of the outcome"? Are you real? How do you even say that it's best for the victim and society to at least try to seek justice?
So the boy becomes a sacrificial lamb to get this allegedly awful cop off the force? What effect will a Vitte conviction on a misdemeanor have in making this young man feel safer.
And why do you have any confidence the "community" will "rally"?
This boy merely is a tool to get Vitte.

Babo

So we and the young man should throw our hands up and surrender to abusers? That's what you appear to be suggesting. No we take back OUR justice system from abuser/bullies like Vitte and his attorney Henry.

My hope is that the now young man and his family are not about to let him become a sacrificial lamb and will sue (excuse the pun) the pants off of Vitte. I agree with you that he needs an advocate because I do not trust the prosecutor's office to protect him.

Also, not to come across as sexist but recognizing that men and women are hard wired differently; I do believe a young man will process this experience differently than a young woman.

ContraryAnn

"We and the young man..." Since when did you or 'we' become a part of this case? Is it because of your dislike of Vitte and Henry?

Are totally exclusively interested in justice for the young man?

What if this hadn't involved an OHP officer - Dean Henry?

...and perhaps you should be careful in drawing conclusions from screen names?

EVERYONE. examine your motives for your posting. Hardly any can post a comment without attacking Vitte, the OHP, LE, Dean Henry, Stierwalt, et al.

justice_forall2014

Again to the couple Vitte supporters, I urge you to obtain your own copy of the public records. Your statements and opinions are very informative and indicate you may be closer to this case than most others commenting. However, is seems your source of information may be leading you in the wrong direction. You have legal knowledge, good for you. Take that and use it to do a little research and become an informed commenter rather than just throwing out intimidation tactics used by bully defense attorneys. I only hope the victims in this situation remember why they started. Don't allow the ramblings of people who are afraid to present who they really are prevent you from being strong and do what is right. The devil wears many disguises!

ContraryAnn

"do what is right" for whom?

Justice for all is the primary goal? Or justice for the young man who already has had his life altered forever?

So. To j_f2014.... I suggest you do some serious research into the very complex subject of abuse, bullying, sexual abuse,

Truth or Dare

So because he is State Patrol and folks have read this in the paper there should be a change of venue? Was that sarcasm? If that's the case, it should work for every regular Tom, Dick, Harry and Sally whose name, face and charges are plastered within this, any newspaper!

Modern technology has made it possible too view all kinds of sick, perverted, PEDOPHILE LE individuals who've been prosecuted for sexual offenses. Makes one wonder how long they got away with it, who helped along the way and how many victims were left in their wake.

Fact: Trust, much like respect is a two way street. It's earned and not a given. That works for LE, our judicial system and the politics they're tied too as well. It's pretty clear all here are tainted.

Too the now young man who filed this report w/Erie County, STAND STRONG, and if no one else will, be your own ADVOCATE! Whether 7 or 17, God knows children that aren't permitted to speak for themselves, even persuaded not too, that have no rights need more of them. Advocates that is, because it's quite clear their rights are null and void.

reddog

My heart goes out to the victim. This would be a very difficult and personal thing to go through and the kid is under a microscope. It takes a lot of guts to do what he's doing and I admire him, whomever he is.

Please

Pundit, I think you missed Blues point. Sitting on a jury you get to hear all the facts, not just one side or an opinion. We have only heard one side and are ready to hang someone. If he is guilty.....sick!! But if someone blindly accused you of something you just did not do, wouldn't you want your day in court. This happens all the time, there is a divorce, spouse gets mad, and starts telling their children bad things about spouse. Usually not to this extent, but it does happen. Just saying if someone said you did something that you didn't and it ended up in the paper, you wouldwant your day in court to defend yourself. Again if he did these things.......good luck when you get to the pearly gates!

Peninsula Pundit

A cursory review of my past posts in the Register clearly indicate that I am a very strong advocate for the rights of the accused.
This same review will also show that when the case against the accused is sound (i.e. an admission of wrongdoing by the accused), justice should be swiftly served.
The sad thing about the whole situation in this region is that the judicial and enforcement sections are some of the worst offenders against the laws and ethics they swore to uphold.

Babo

The article states and quotes the following:

"The Highway Patrol placed Vitte on paid administrative leave Wednesday morning, after they learned of the indictment. They have also launched an administrative investigation into the alleged sex acts, said Sgt. Vincent Shirey, an assistant Patrol spokesman.

The goal of the investigation: “Just to do a thorough investigation on the allegations and see what’s true and what’s false and what exactly happened,” Shirey said."

Vitte has already been indicted by a grand jury and there is a pending criminal case. Why is it now necessary for OHP to waste additional tax dollars on an administrative investigation that should have been conducted months ago? Who is OHP to determine whether "allegations" actually criminal charges are "false" or "truthful" and "what really happened"? That sounds to me like a state agency using tax dollars to help an employee defend himself. That is highly inappropriate and IMO an illegal expenditure of public funds.

OHP should focus any investigation on its own failure to act and uphold the values of the Patrol when the allegations were first brought to light rather than to continue what appears to be an effort to interfere with a pending criminal case.

Blue.Streaker

I agree with this comment (except for calling the expenditure "illegal.")

Of all LE in Ohio the OSP fancies itself the most stainless and professional. Most OSP troopers are very good, but there are enough smug arrogant jerks to sully the rest of them.

Babo

Thanks for the concurrence. Here's the law that applies to use of public funds for improper personal reasons. The following is an excerpt from the State Auditor's report on former Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton's misuse of Furtherance of Justice funds. He faces sentencing in US District Court in May 2014 after pleading guilty to theft of federal funds.
Furthermore, State ex rel. McClure v. Hagerman (1951), 155 Ohio St. 320, provides that expenditures
made by a governmental unit should serve a public purpose. Typically the determination of what
constitutes a “proper public purpose” rests with the judgment of the governmental entity, unless such
determination is arbitrary or unreasonable. Auditor of State Bulletin 2003-005 states that governmental
entities may not make expenditures of public monies unless they are for a valid public purpose. The
Bulletin indicates that the Auditor of State’s Office will only question expenditures where the legislative
determination of a public purpose is manifestly arbitrary and incorrect. In addition, all expenditures
should be evidenced by some form of documentation attesting to the nature of the purchase. Without
proper documentation, it is difficult to ensure public monies are being spent for public purposes.

My argument is that an administrative investigation AFTER an employee has been indicted is an improper expenditure of OHP public funds and is for an improper purpose because it appears to aid the Employee's defense in a criminal action.

Blue.Streaker

Nope.

An agency must have discretion as to when to investigate its people. Also, the union contract probably requires there be an ongoing investigation to support a suspension.

Babo

Fair enough, but it is inappropriate for OHP to claim it is trying to ferret out truth and falsity and what really happened when a criminal case is pending.

I think it's pretty standard in all public contracts and jobs that an indictment will result in a the immediate suspension of a public employee. They don't need to do an investigation to justify cause to suspend as the criminal justice system has found probable cause he committed a crime.

ContraryAnn

If OHP wants to terminate the officer - or even justify unpaid leave - the agency will need sufficient evidence (short of a felony conviction) to take action.
I thought I read in some story that a misdemeanor conviction would allow the officer to keep his job?

Truth2u

Right on target Babo,

Notice the State Patrol KNEW of this creeps acts and did nothing until there was a grand jury. I thought they were law ENFORCEMENT?

I consider the State Patrol as the WORSE law enforcement agency in the State, this action of delaying until now is 100% political to be able to claim they started their 'own' investigation.
RUBBISH, its all about image with them, case in point is when they are involved in an accident, you'll find they put the car on a trailer and have it completely covered so no body sees it. Pure BS like everything else they do.

The only thing I'm surprised about is that Vitte didn't dress up like a Klansman when he did this, at least he would show he had some shame by covering his face!

ContraryAnn

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS and speech... Mr. Jackson and Mr. Westerhold and the SR just learned another element of the First Amendment.
The press may publish whatever it wishes.
The Prosecutor and OHP, when asked repeatedly, are NOT required to tell the media if/when/why or why not action will be taken. They also don't have to reveal how long their investigations have been ongoing.
But I'm sure the SR will be proud of the newspaper's accomplishment in bringing Vitte to trial - if it gets that far.

xtensionofme

Agree with "AnAmerican:" It's about time!! Can't believe this man still works in law enforcement!

candleburner

I haven't read all the comments here but I have a few issues with this guy and I'm sure there with be issues with my comments as well.

Why was this guy still allowed to be a SHP after his first offense of DV? I understand that it was just his first offense however even the charge that he eventually plead down to should have been enough to get him kicked off the force - at least in my opinion anyway. I do understand that police officers are not perfect however they should have standards set just slightly above the rest of us. We look to them - or at least we should - as how to act and behave. Then to have him on administrative leave - that just makes me plain nuts!! They put him on paid vacation - paid for by the parents of the kids he's taking advantage of too, which is just sick on more levels than I can think of!!! This guy needs to be beat with a stick!!

queenjhb

I'm sure this child is stronger than he knows, he can testify, he can move on knowing he did all he could do for justice, he is believed and he is supported.

ContraryAnn

Have you ever been 'this child'?
Have you ever been the parent of 'this child'?
Have YOU personally as child or adult been in any situation similar to 'this child'?

My only hope is that someone is getting counseling for 'this child'.
Well, I have one more hope - that someone is getting 'this child' his own attorney/advocate to protect his interests and not let him be exploited.

worddrow811

Bottom line is no law enforcement official should be allowed to arrest civilians for the very same acts that the law enforcement officer has committed in his/her private life. Even the appearance of a double standard should be cause to terminate.

ContraryAnn

Bottom Line. Virtually from the moment this young man came forward most recently, all reporting, comments, diatribes, character attacks on Vitte, attacks on Stierwalt et al have focused on law enforcement or lack thereof.

And everytime the stories are written or comments made "this child" is before the public with the repetition ad nauseum of the alleged acts - with no true regard for his feelings and difficulties.
Not once has anyone written about services available to abused/neglected children. Not once has anyone asked if his mother is complicit - even now - in the ongoing stress over five years or so.
Did she go to Children Services immediately? Did she seek counseling for him, for the family, for any siblings? Did she get Vitte out of the house as soon as she knew? We haven't read about any of those things - and the parent is the FIRST line of defense.
Each time a story/comment appears, the man (too old now for juvenile services like CASA or Children's Services) is victimized all over. Is it making him stronger to read about the 'act'?
So it's wrong for Henry to be on the case. Isn't that up to the judge to decide/act upon? Babo says we should have confidence in the Court... *insert snicker*. Is ANYONE providing Victim Assistance?
'We' just wanna get Stierwalt, Henry, the OHP and all those other people 'we' don't like in this and other cases. Even Vitte is a 'tool' to get the others.
And the SR gives it all credence.
It's no longer necessary on each article to revisit the alleged crime against a vulnerable child.

Blue.Streaker

I assume most of the SR's readers are from Erie County, population roughly 75,000. Sandusky County has about 60,000. Smaller, but still in the same category.

The Erie County Prosecutor has eleven assistants who are lawyers and a staff of seven, FOUR of whom are part of the Victim Assistance Unit. see http://www.eriecounty.oh.gov/dep...

The Sandusky County Prosecutor has a staff of three lawyers, one part-time investigator, and two clerical.

They handle roughly a similar case load.

Just saying.

(....and NO, I'm not any part of Sandusky County government, but I know how to research.)

Babo

Sounds like Erie County is over staffed with attorneys and Sandusky needs to increase its victim assistance staff.

Julie R.

Erie County sure is overstaffed with attorneys. They're overstaffed with judges and magistrates, too, not to mention they're still paying these arrogant old rent-a-judges to fix their cases on the taxpayer dime.

blueyedgrl1030

I find it totally uncomprehensable that a OSP officer can actually have a child endangering charge on his record and keep his job, yet in the state of Ohio certain licenses (ie in the medical field etc)can be suspended and or totally revoked for the same criminal conviction. If one does some research it can be found that medical and nursing boards are comprised of ones peers in the same professions, as is the Ohio Peace Officer Training Council (whom is responsible for setting the minimum applicant standards for becoming a cop in the state). The main DIFFERENCE is what each of those peers is willing to put up with and or turn a blind eye to in each respective "profession". One would think that holding moral integrity to its highest standards for LE is not a crazy notion, but if one is to refer back to the difference in standards in the above mentioned professions (and what is acceptable regarding criminal convictions to maintain that job) its not hard to understand where the term "good ole boy club" came from regarding LE. I wouldnt want a nurse to be taking care of my child, knowing they had been convicted of child endangering just as much as I wouldnt want a judge or police officer charging me or convicting me for a DUI knowing they themselves encountered the same criminal conviction. Of course the difference of encountering "said" nurse is slim to none vs encountering LE that has the same convictions because of what ea professions peers is willing to work beside. For people that believe this is a grave "injustice" they are SPOT ON, the unfortunate problem is that the prevalence of all the convictions LE IS able to have and probably do statistically is probably mind blowing and Mr. Vitte is just one of hundreds all over the state with the same kind of conviction on their record. Regarding Blue Streaks comments, he too is almost "spot on", as he is simply stating the obvious of what a good defense attorney could and possibly will do. I'm in no way agreeing with him, rather simply being realistic because whether one wants to admit it or not that is how our justice system works. One could only hope that TRUE moral integrity could and should be a precondition of some of these professions vs inflated egos and high earnings and why some people choose to go into these professions. Truly makes one wonder how some of these people can honestly lay their heads on a pillow at night and sleep peacefully but of course when they have moral turpitude as a standard that allows them to continue in that profession in the first place seems to answer that silly notion.

Cowboy

Super Troopers sequel in the making!