Youngstown Sgt. Touville accepts 3-day suspension over Sciortino stop

Published: Thu, July 18, 2013 @ 12:10 a.m.


Settlement stems from

handling of Sciortino

aborted OVI arrest

By Peter H. Milliken


Sgt. James Touville of the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to accept a three-day, unpaid suspension concerning his conduct when he arrested and “unarrested” county Auditor Michael V. Sciortino on a potential drunken-driving charge May 26 in Canfield Township.

Despite Sciortino’s having failed a field-sobriety test, Touville released Sciortino to then-Commander Thomas J. Assion, who drove the auditor home in the auditor’s car from the traffic stop on U.S. Route 224 near Raccoon Road.

Assion had asked Touville if he would forgo the drunken-driving arrest, and Touville agreed to do so. Assion then asked Touville to cite Sciortino for failing to drive within marked lanes.

Sciortino, 42, of Austintown, paid a $50 fine and $80 in court costs on the marked-lanes charge.

Sheriff Jerry Greene demoted Assion to his previous rank of sergeant because of the Sciortino incident.

The sheriff said Touville should have insisted on taking the auditor to the Canfield police station for a Breathalyzer test.

Touville agreed to the suspension rather than go through a pre-disciplinary hearing, which had been scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The written disciplinary settlement agreement says Touville may vacate the pact and proceed with a pre- disciplinary hearing if the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or any other law- enforcement agency charges him with a crime in connection with the Sciortino traffic stop.

The AG’s special-prosecutions unit is investigating the matter at the request of county Prosecutor Paul J. Gains.

One clue that a settlement was in the works was the 10:15 a.m. departure from the county jail of Karen U’Halie, county human-resources director, who was to have been the hearing officer, but said only that she was leaving because she was no longer needed in the hearing- officer role.

About an hour after her departure, Maj. William Cappabianca announced the terms of the agreement.

In the settlement, Touville admitted violating Rule 37B of the sheriff’s office’s general orders, which states: “All employees shall perform their duties in a manner that will maintain the highest standards of efficiency in carrying out the objectives and purpose of MCSO. Failure to comply with this rule constitutes unsatisfactory performance.”

Signing the agreement was Cappabianca, representing the sheriff; Touville; and Charles Wilson, Fraternal Order of Police Ohio Labor Council senior staff representative.

Touville is a member of the FOP Lodge 141 bargaining unit.

Touville, who is a midnight-turn patrol supervisor, will make up for the lost pay through a reduction in his vacation time or in the accumulated time he has banked in lieu of overtime, Cappabianca said.

“Sgt. Touville accepted his responsibility for the actions on the night of May 26,” allowing the sheriff’s office to close its internal investigation of the incident, Cappabianca said.

“As a department, we’re looking forward to moving on beyond this incident,” the major added.

“Sgt. Touville has a long history and a good career with the department, and, after reviewing everything, he had decided that this was the best option at this time and wants to move forward with his duties and career here,” Wilson said after the agreement was signed.

Touville joined the sheriff’s office in October 2000.

“He wanted to get this behind him. He’s got a great career that’s pretty much unblemished with this department, and this is a stressful situation for him,” Wilson added.

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