UPDATE: Bates doesn't have Stierwalt's back

Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt says he did it; the Lucas County prosecutor office says he didn’t.
Register
May 1, 2014

Stierwalt told Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. K.E. Ward in February that he sent the Lucas County prosecutor’s office a request for a “second opinion” on whether Patrol Sgt. Ricky Vitte should be charged with a crime after allegations surfaced last year he showed porn to a 12-year-old boy and masturbated with him on two occasions. 

Read more

Original post, 12:01 p.m. May 1, 2014

Headline: Bates has Stierwalt's back, Lucas County prosecutor's office says Vitte should not have been charged

Sandusky County Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt had it right the first time.

Ohio Patrol Sgt. Ricky Vitte Jr. should not have been charged, according to the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office, after allegations surfaced he showed pornography to a boy and masturbated with him.

Stierwalt sent the video Vitte allegedly showed the boy to the sex crimes unit in Prosecutor Julia Bates' office in February and asked for a "second opinion" whether he should seek a charge of disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile.

The unit "recommended that no charges be filed against Vitte," according to an internal report from the Ohio Highway Patrol.

Bates did not respond to inquiries from the Register. 

William Miller, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor assigned to the special prosecutions unit did not reply to an email from the Register or to telephone messages left for him.

The prosecutor's office also has not yet provided public records related to Stierwalt's request for a review. 

Stierwalt told the Patrol investigators he decided to leave it up to the alleged victim, who is now 18, despite the recommendation from Lucas County that no charges be filed. Stierwalt said he gave the victim a week to "render a decision" whether he wanted him to take the evidence to a grand jury.

The victim, who was 12 when the alleged incidents occurred, told Stierwalt he had concerns for other children and about Vitte's violent temper, according to reports, and he wanted to go forward. Vitte was indicted April 2 on two charges of disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile.

The Patrol fired Vitte three weeks later, at the conclusion of its investigation, for acts "unbecoming" an officer and for making the Patrol look bad.

The termination is an about face. In January, the Patrol did not plan to take any action concerning the boy's complaint, returning his service weapon and restoring Vitte to full-duty when Stierwalt dropped the local investigation. 

Read Vitte fired

At that time, Stierwalt said he did not think Vitte could be convicted because he could argue a defense he was teaching the boy how to masturbate.

Dean Henry, a Tiffin defense attorney who also works as a special prosecutor in Stierwalt's office, told the Register in January that Vitte denied all the allegations and is completely innocent. Henry represented Vitte in a past incident when Vitte was charged with domestic violence.

Henry also said he was representing Vitte this time and that he'd talked with Stierwalt about the investigation before Stierwalt closed it down.

In the months since Stierwalt refused to expand or clarify his reasoning for not moving forward after saying his main purpose for dropping it was Vitte might have been teaching the boy about sex.

He did make comments, however, in a phone call an unknown person made to him on Jan. 23.

"You're not pressing charges, right?" the caller impersonating Vitte asks Stierwalt.

"Didn't seem like there was an appropriate charge, that's right," Stierwalt replies, in the recorded conversation widely distributed on the Internet. Their conversation suggests Vitte and Stierwalt might be familiar and friendly with each other.

Stierwalt believed the caller was Vitte, and the two commiserated about the fallout after the Register first reported the allegations in January. Stierwalt said he'd gotten fierce feedback from the community criticizing his decision.

"I've been called a FOB, son of a b(deleted), mother(deleted)ing mother(deleted)er," Stierwalt said. "I get emails and I get voicemails for that kind of stuff. I'm a little tired of it, too." 

Hello, Tom? Is that you? (recorded call includes objectionable language)

Stierwalt did expand on his earlier comments when he talked with the Patrol investigator in February, including telling him he found the victim to be credible. He did not offer any information, however, about what other charges might have been considered and the investigator did not appear to ask.

Bates and Miller also both refused to comment on whether the Lucas County sex crimes unit reviewed information about the alleged sexual interaction between Vitte and the boy, and whether the two encounters might constitute some other violation of the law.

Stierwalt told the Patrol investigator there was "no touching in the masturbation incident" between Vitte and the boy. 

Click here to read related articles

Comments

Buckey_Fan

I have one question for Bates and Stierwalt, If this were your child would you have the same feelings??? I can almost bet not. This man (Vitte)had NO reason what so ever to be teaching someones child how to Masturbate period! I'm sure every parent has their own way to discuss the Birds and Bees with their children and am safe to say 99% don't do it in that manner. You Bates and Stierwalt should be FIRED right along with this creep!

Babo

Bates, Stierwalt, Mulligan, and Baxter have all covered for each other for years whenever there is an allegation of misconduct against a LEO or some other politically connected person such as themselves.

Moreover, Dean Henry has been very active defending these politically connected miscreants especially LEOs who like to beat up women or abuse children. If Henry isn't defending them he is brought in as a "Special Prosecutor" to run interference for them when there is a demand for an investigation into official misconduct. (See Sandusky County and Ottawa County cases where he undermined citizen complaints concerning law enforcement and public officials).

There is absolutely no authority under the law for a county prosecutor to refer a matter to a county prosecutor in another county. If he wanted a "second opinion" he should have requested one from the FBI and the US Attorney's office, not from a state prosecutor from a county with one of the worst records in the country for prosecuting sex crimes against children and child trafficking.

Finally why no criminal charges for the fleeing and eluding (it's at least a misdemeanor and may be a felony)?

justice_forall2014

Ricky Vitte Jr. worked in Lucas county. Why send it to an area he had a working relationship and potentially a personal relationship with some of the persons within the office? Would love to know the reason indicated as to why Lucas County felt no charges should be pursued. As for the fleeing, in an Ohio State Highway Patrol issued vehicle (paid by tax payers), interesting question! If he wasn't fleeing and/or eluding, then where was he going while off duty in a state issued vehicle?

worddrow811

It seems there are no laws against tacky, tastelessness and downright stupidity. They should be ashamed of their behavior, but probably are not that either.

KURTje

Wow! The people, not the "few" are glad Vitte is oudda here.

Seen it All

Seriously, would anyone expect her to say anything different?

LabMan

No

vcreed123

are you kidding me????? she's an inept as he is

Ctwhalers

Babo you could not have said it any better. She has the nerve to say that. What if it was her son then what would she do.

Lil DAB

Well she DOES have previous experience...‘Deal(ing) with the devil’
Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates said ....“You may ask us, ‘Why did we make a deal with the devil here today?’” Bates said during a press conference following the sentencings."

http://www.toledofreepress.com/t...

DGMutley

Bates isn't talking. If I were her I wouldn't be either.

Shameful.

Julie R.

Bunch of old unprofessional high-school thugs.