By Denise Dick
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office has agreed to investigate the May 26 traffic stop involving Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino.
Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman for DeWine, said the file has been referred to the AG’s special prosecutions unit.
There’s no set time frame for a decision.
An investigator “will look into the incident and decide if any additional charges will be filed,” she said.
Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains said he referred the case to DeWine’s office.
“Because of the parties involved, I wanted to avoid any appearance of impropriety,” he said.
Sciortino couldn’t be reached.
A Mahoning County deputy sheriff pulled over Sciortino late May 26 on suspicion of driving under the influence and then a sheriff’s department supervisor drove Sciortino home. Though a Summit County investigation reported he “failed miserably” a field sobriety test, Sciortino was cited for a marked-lanes violation and paid a fine and court costs in Mahoning County Court in Canfield.
Those involved told investigators that the auditor didn’t request special treatment.
Sciortino issued an apology last week, saying he let his friends, family and supporters down.
Sheriff Jerry Greene last week demoted the supervisor, T.J. Assion; suspended Maj. Jeffrey Allen, patrol supervisor, for 10 days without pay; and Sgt. James Touville, the deputy who stopped Sciortino, will be disciplined following the procedure in the union contract.
Greene’s action came at the conclusion of an investigation into the matter by the Summit County Sheriff’s office which was requested by Greene.
That report says 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.
Del Greco likened Gains’ referral to DeWine’s office to Greene’s asking Summit County to conduct the investigation.
In cases involving law enforcement or county officials, local agencies request the attorney general’s office to review the cases so there’s “no perceived conflict of interest,” she said.