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Highway patrol sergeant indicted on porn charges

Allegations stem from 2009 incident

FREMONT — An Ohio Highway Patrol sergeant was indicted on two counts related to allegations he showed a pornographic video several years ago to a 12-year-old child.

A Sandusky County grand jury this week indicted Ricky Vitte, 34, of Helena on felony and misdemeanor counts of disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile.

The charges stem from a Feb. 11, 2009, incident.

After the indictment, Sergeant Vitte, assigned to the Toledo post, was placed on paid administrative leave.

The highway patrol has begun an administrative investigation, spokesman Lt. Anne Ralston said.

The patrol learned of the allegations late last year when the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation, she said. At that point, Sergeant Vitte was placed on “administrative duties,” meaning he wore plain clothes and performed desk duties while the sheriff’s investigation was ongoing.

He returned to regular duty after the patrol was told the Sandusky County prosecutor “had reviewed the case, and that the allegations weren’t going to be taken forward” to seek charges, Lieutenant Ralston said.

She referred questions about why an indictment was later sought to Prosecutor Thomas Stierwalt, who could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Tiffin attorney Dean Henry, who represents the defendant, could not be reached for comment.

The misdemeanor count carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. The felony is punishable by six to 18 months and up to a $5,000 fine.

Sergeant Vitte joined the highway patrol as a cadet in 2001. He is to be arraigned May 5.

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