Vitte fired

Termination is a reversal of Ohio Highway Patrol's earlier decision to reinstate him when Stierwalt refused to seek charges
Register
Apr 25, 2014

An Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper who allegedly showed porn and masturbated with a 12-year-old boy was fired Thursday. 

The termination of Patrol Sgt. Ricky Vitte Jr. is a reversal of the Patrol's stand after the allegations initially surfaced late last year. 

Sandusky County Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt also did an about face earlier this month when he decided to present evidence to a grand jury and indicted Vitte on a charge of disseminating harmful material to a juvenile.

Prior to that, in January, Stierwalt dropped the investigation and said he did not intend to seek charges against Vitte. Stierwalt said at that time his main reason for not seeking charges was because Vitte could argue he was teaching the boy to masturbate.

That decision caused a firestorm of criticism from across the country after the Register first reported it Jan. 22, including suggestions Vitte was receiving specail consideration from Stierwalt because of his position as a law enforcemnt officer.

Sandusky County sheriff's Capt. Sean O'Connell, who investigated the allegations but never interviewed Vitte, wrote in a report that Vitte's sexual encounters with the boy happened out of concern for the child.

"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 the boy's mother.

The Patrol returned Vitte, who was assigned to the Toledo Post, to full service duty after Stierwalt made his decision in January. A Patrol spokeswoman at that time initially stated the Patrol would conduct an internal investigation of the circumstances surrounding the allegations, but she later stated there was nothing the Patrol could do because Stierwalt had declined to press charges. 

The Register attempted to get clarification from the Patrol, and later sought information from John Born, the director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, about the Patrol's personnel practices. Born is an appointee of Gov. John Kasich, and his agency oversees the Patrol. 

Born refused requests for an interview and did not respond to inquiries from the Register. His spokesman, Joseph Andrews, did respond, however, and reiterated that the Patrol was unable to take any disciplinary action against Vitte because of Stierwalt's earlier decision against filing charges.

Dean Henry, a Tiffin attorney who works as a special prosecutor for Stierwalt's office, also represents Vitte as his defense attorney. He told the Register in December that Vitte denied all of the allegations against him and was completely innocent. 

Henry also represented Vitte in 2003 when he was accused of beating a chid and the child's mother. Vitte was charged with domestice violence in that incident but later entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of child endagerment. He was reinstated to full service by the Patrol immediately after the plea arrangement at that time. 

Get Saturday's Register for more on this developing story. Click here for the ePaper, for home delivery or buy the Register daily at a newsstand near you. 

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Note: This article has been modified to reflect the Register confirmed Vitte's termination and remove the alternative source provided previously. 

Comments

Little Giant

I heard the conservatives of the religious right at St. Joe's are considering making him a priest.

Hopperthe2nd

Or a saint!

mikeylikesit

i been calling you fred phelps, but now i think you may be the long absent "taxpaer"..

queenjhb

SR shining a light on truth, good to know that this wasn't allowed to be swept under a rug, let the boy know we care what he went through & we wish him all the best. Way to go SR...

witch hunter

Where justice and authority let victims down, solidarity,activism,the Sandusky Register,and a massive effort will have to fill the breach.Show them you stand with them by liking & sharing Sandusky Register's & JFJ&E page's,that's how you show them thank you and yes we care!

witch hunter

And yes I,can't wait to read saturdays paper about "evil" and "witch hunt's"

kURTje

Thanks Register for paying attention on this. Glad Vitte is gone; he gave good L.E. a bad name. Thanks Matt W. for acknowledging what I repeatedly stated here... MANY here have facts on a myriad of subjects. Keep these blogs as they are and we citizens can share valid/pertinent information.

DGMutley

Hat's off to the Sandusky Register for keeping the pressure on!!

WeThePeople1965

About d*mn time. If he ever gets indicted, he'll walk, but at least I don't have to be worried about getting pulled over by a disgusting hypocrite. I don't want to get charged for laughing in his face and driving off.

witch hunter

I heard in S.C. you can keep driving for a couple of miles before you can call it fleeing,at least according to detective O'connell,but you should ask Bruce Hurt's son-in-law Detective Zach Zender what he thinks? they may need to know you are carrying a gun and think you are guilty of something before they let you do it.Other than that I think it is a new standard.

witch hunter

If he ever gets indicted, he'll walk? It will be hard to walk away from what his buddy Stierwalt said people think we are motherf#&#er,FOB,son-of-a-bitc# mother*&#er's I'll call Dean Henry.He will mix up the grape Kool-aid So wukie can get this one right.No not true just my take on it.

Stop It

witch hunter, you really need to calm down.

witch hunter

Yes.I know sorry.

Peninsula Pundit

Congratulations, Sandusky Register and Mr. Westerhold!
He'd still still be in a cruiser if you didn't keep after it.
Maybe the posters here who are still deriding you will now shut their big yaps (I know, fat chance).
Keep after 'em, guys!
Professional plaudits for all the investigatory work you do now will not only help our area rid itself of corruption but will certainly result in many awards to the staff at the SR.
Truly an example of the Free American Press in Action!

Justwow

Wendy's is hiring

Babo

Working with all those fresh buns may over stimulate Vitte. Probably not a good job choice.

ContraryAnn

It would be interesting to see how many posting here ever have been molested as a child and thus speak from a position of EMPATHY rather than observant SYMPATHY.

Peninsula Pundit

What the effin' difference would that make, you shrek-like troll?
I've scraped larger intellect than you from the sole of my shoe.
And that's the last reply you'll ever see from me addressing you.
I encourage all other posters to do the same.
Hey Register! If you're still looking to change the format here, besides the thumbs up/down, could I also ask for an 'IGNORE' button so ContraryHarry's posts do not even show on my computer?
I would be most appreciative!

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