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Published: Friday, 10/24/2003

Jury acquits street sweeper arrested in sting

The operator of a city street sweeper who was on duty when he was arrested, to much fanfare, during a police prostitution sting was acquitted yesterday by a Toledo Municipal Court jury.

Matthew Pittman was charged July 29 with soliciting from a motor vehicle, a first-degree misdemeanor.

During the one-day trial before Judge Mary Grace Trimboli, the jury heard a recording the undercover police officer made of her conversation with Mr. Pittman. The jury deliberated for an hour before returning a not-guilty verdict.

Authorities alleged that he was in the cab of his sweeper when he pulled to a curb at Lagrange and Everett streets, stopped the machine, and started talking to a woman who turned out to be an undercover detective. Authorities alleged that he agreed to meet the undercover officer and a purported girlfriend at the North Toledo intersection several hours later.

Instead, said Pete McHugh, his attorney, the recording showed that “the police officer was doing the majority of the asking - `How much money do you have? What kind of sexual acts do you want?' He did not ask for sexual activity for hire from this woman.”

The mayor was out of town last night and could not be reached for comment.

The administrative hearing process is separate from the criminal case, said mayoral spokesman Mary Chris Skeldon.

“The administrative hearing process will need to take its course,” she said. “A hearing officer will hear all the facts of the case and make a determination as to whether administrative policies have been violated.”

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