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Sciortino report going to state attorney general

Published: Thu, July 4, 2013 @ 12:10 a.m.

By joe gorman



The report released Tuesday about the May 26 traffic stop by Mahoning County sheriff’s deputies of Auditor Michael Sciortino is being forwarded to the office of state Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Prosecutor Paul Gains and Sheriff Jerry Greene made the decision after a meeting Wednesday in Gains’ office, where they went over the report compiled by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

Sciortino was pulled over late May 26 on suspicion of driving under the influence and then a sheriff’s department supervisor drove Sciortino home.

It also was revealed Tuesday that two FBI agents interviewed Sciortino during the course of the probe. Vicki Anderson, an FBI spokeswoman in Cleveland, said Wednesday the interview had nothing to do with the traffic stop. She would not say what the interview was about or if an agency requested the interview.

When asked why the interview took place during the investigation, Anderson said, “The opportunity presented itself.”

Greene also would not disclose why the FBI interviewed Sciortino, although investigators were given a copy of the interview, which was not given to the news media when the report was released Tuesday. Greene said he received the FBI report as a courtesy, but it was stated that the report is the property of the FBI and not to be given out.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office report said the FBI interview was part of the traffic stop investigation, however.

Lt. Joseph Rusov, one of the investigators involved in the report, did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday.

Gains said the report is being forwarded to see if any action should be taken against Sciortino or the three sheriff’s department personnel who were disciplined in the report.

Greene suspended patrol supervisor Maj. Jeffrey Allen for 10 days without pay for his role.

T.J. Assion was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant for telling the arresting deputy to take Sciortino out of handcuffs. Assion then drove Sciortino home in Sciortino’s car. The demotion will reduce Assion’s salary by $19,000.

The deputy who performed the stop, Sgt. James Touville, also will be disciplined. But because he is a member of the deputies’ union, his discipline will be handled through the process dictated in the union contract.

The report states that Sciortino failed a field sobriety test and was handcuffed by Touville, before Assion told Touville to uncuff him. Assion came to the scene after Allen called him. Allen was called by a supervisor whom Touville had called, the report said.

Sciortino did not return a message seeking comment but did issue a statement saying: “I am deeply regretful for the unfortunate circumstances that evening. I know that I let myself, family, friends, supporters and office down, and for that I am sorry.”

He also apologized to the families of the deputies who were involved.

Investigators said Sciortino never requested special treatment. He was cited for a marked-lanes violation and paid a fine and court costs in Mahoning County Court in Canfield.

Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office, said the office normally would use the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation to handle such a case, but because an investigation already was completed, the special prosecution section probably will review the findings and consider what action, if any, should be taken.

She said her agency typically gets requests from law enforcement to investigate or review conduct of law-enforcement personnel or public officials.

Mahoning County commissioners also weighed in on the report after their weekly meeting Wednesday.

“The sheriff handled it the best that he could,” said Commissioner Anthony Traficanti.

Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti agreed.

Commissioner David Ditzler said it’s an unfortunate situation but he doesn’t believe it’s affected Sciortino’s job performance. Sciortino has attended meetings with commissioners.

“Mike didn’t ask for special treatment,” Ditzler said.

He said he’s been pulled over for speeding and been issued a warning rather than a ticket and doesn’t know if that’s because he’s a public official.

If a member of the general public had been in the situation Sciortino reportedly was in that night, though, he or she likely wouldn’t have been cut the same slack, he said.

Public officials should be treated equally, and Ditzler said that’s the message he hopes was sent in the way Greene handled the situation.

Vindicator staff writer Denise Dick contributed to this report


1author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years ago

In Mahoning County, due process starts and end when law enforcement finds out what your last name is. For office holders, their friends,and families it is a VERY good thing.

For the rest of us -- it's the hole in the bagel.

Least we poor citizens forget former YPD police chief and county candidate for Sheriff Jimmy Hughes son dismissal of his OVI, because the arresting State Highway Patrol officer DIDN'T show up at the hearing :(

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2author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years ago

Contact MADD at 1-877-275-6233 demand they make a statement and help bring justice to the people of Mahoning County, since local, state and federal law enforcement will not.

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3islandgrump(59 comments)posted 3 years ago

Good grief Charlie Brown. Quit wasting my tax dollars and move on. The Sheriff's Dept. dropped the ball. This has been going on in Y-town and every other state in the country. Washington DC Capital Police do this type of "Service" everyday of the week for "our" elected officials "WE" put in office. Very simple task. VOTE THEM OUT OR DEMAND THEY STEP DOWN! But quit beating the damn dead horse. Its over, move on. There will be no further charges, period.

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4mtimmer(2 comments)posted 3 years ago

I wonder if he would be apologizing if this so called traffic violation of "failure to stay within marked lanes" hadn't become public. I doubt it. It's hard to tell what will come out in the future with the FBI questioning not related to this traffic stop. There has been no improvement in the public officials being elected in Mahoning County

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5author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years ago

Was TJ Assion called in to 'un-arrest' Deputy Ken O'Rourke on 05.16.13 when O'Rourke wrecked his car and luckily didn't hurt anyone with a BAL over .2? Greene put O'Rourke on the good ole 'paid administrative leave'

That was over a month ago, does Greene have to call in yet another outside agency to tell him what should be done?

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