Five years ago, a Ohio highway patrol trooper watched porn and masturbated with a pre-teen boy. He even admitted as much to his wife. But Ricky Vitte Jr., who also has a history of domestic violence, won’t face any charges. A prosecutor for the Sandusky County preemptively withdrew them, saying that he believed Vitte might have offered a defense that justified his actions.
Yet Vitte’s own explanation for his behavior hardly sounds as if it is likely to convince a jury — the cop says he trying to provide the boy with some kind of sexual education. According to the Sandusky County Sheriff’s office, Vitte’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.” Vitte also claims that a dresser was between him and the boy.
Before this incident, Vitte was accused of spanking the 5-year-old son of his then-girlfriend until he bled and head-butting the girlfriend. His children said Vitte has pushed them and punched one at least once. And when officers attempted to interview him once, he also led them on a short car chase.
As the Sandusky Register points out, it is unclear why the prosecutor Tom Stierwalt dropped a case against him for masturbating with the boy. But it is hardly uncommon for prosecutors or other investigators to go lightly when a police officer is accused of wrongdoing. A recent report found that 99 percent of police brutality reports in central New Jersey lead to no action. In Los Angeles, only instances of officer-involved shootings led to criminal charges. Human Rights Watch argues that this pattern extends to other major cities, where police abuse is rife but accountability rare. One of the rare cases that actually made it to trial, where cops were caught on tape beating a homeless schizophrenic man, still led to no prison time for the officers.