Ex-commander sought to get pal Sciortino ‘out of a DUI’
Sgt. Thomas J. Assion, formerly a commander in the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, told investigators “his sole purpose” in going to the scene of a May 26 Canfield Township traffic stop “was to get (county Auditor) Michael Sciortino out of a DUI,” and that he got involved because Sciortino was “a good friend” of his.
Those comments were released this afternoon by the sheriff’s office, but Sheriff Jerry Greene said he had nothing to add to his previous statement that Greene was first “furious” and then “embarrassed” over the incident, in which Assion drove Sciortino home.
Sciortino paid a $50 fine and $80 in court costs after being charged only with failing to drive within marked lanes.
Assion said he telephoned Sheriff’s Office Sgt. James Touville, who made the traffic stop, asking Touville if Assion could take Sciortino home and if Touville would “forego the DUI thing,” and that Touville agreed to do so.
When he arrived at the scene of the traffic stop on U.S. Route 224 near Raccoon Road at 12:10 a.m., Assion said he perceived Sciortino to be “out of it and drunk.”
Because of this incident, Greene demoted Assion from commander to Assion’s previous rank of sergeant, resulting in a $19,000 annual pay cut for Assion.
Touville is facing the departmental disciplinary procedure prescribed by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 141 union contract.
Assion and the other sheriff’s department personnel involved in the Sciortino case were interviewed by investigators from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, who probed the matter at Greene’s request because Greene said he wanted to avoid any bias.