DiPietro predicts vindication, claims actions humane
Nov 16, 2012 (Dayton Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The deputy police chief of Miami Twp. who is facing disciplinary action for his decontamination of a naked 17-year-old girl after she was pepper-sprayed predicted he would be vindicated, according to a statement released Thursday by his attorney.
Documents released Wednesday and Thursday state that Major John DiPietro committed six acts of improper conduct, including taking a photo of one of the girl's tattoos and sending it to a friend, allowing her to undress during the decontamination after her July 12 arrest and failing to submit proper reports about the incident until ordered to by Police Chief Chris Krug.
"My conduct was intended to treat this person in a respectful and humane manner," DiPietro said, one day after township trustees began a closed-door disciplinary hearing which will continue Nov. 26.
Also Thursday, the Montgomery County Sheriff's office released the documents used for the internal affairs report as well as the criminal investigation finished in September. The prosecutor's office declined to file charges against DiPietro. The Dayton Daily News had fought for the release of those documents for several weeks. Township officials released related documents Wednesday.
In a police interview video from August, the girl said she didn't see anyone take a photo of her tattoo, but that, "when I walked in and they said do you have any injuries on your body, I tried to show (a male officer) the injuries, he didn't look where I was trying to tell him to look."
In his statement, DiPietro also stated that the girl's mother contacted him Sept. 21 and "told me that she and her daughter were very appreciative of the way I treated the daughter. The suspect's mother also spoke with Police Chief Krug that same day and told him that she appreciated the way I treated her daughter."
Attorney Jon Paul Rion, who is representing the girl and her mother, said the mother made that statement, but that "none of the true facts were revealed to the mother at the time that statement was made. There is no way that the mother would ever feel thankful that her daughter was abused, ridiculed, mocked."
Though he has yet to file a lawsuit, Rion said he has been in communication with attorneys representing the township.
"The civil matter is not going to go away," Rion said. "The mother is outraged. She is amazed that she has to learn about the facts about the case from the press."
DiPietro's statement, issued by Attorney Richard A.F. Lipowicz, says that he reported the incident to Chief Krug immediately afterward. The sheriff's investigation shows that DiPietro mentioned it to Krug, but did not tell him that DiPietro himself handled the decontamination. Krug claimed he learned that from Assistant Township Administrator Greg Rogers, who had heard rumors about the incident at a retirement party.
DiPietro also took issue with the sheriff's report's statement that there was a female officer present at the police station that day. That officer, Nancy Strope, was on light duty due to a wrist injury and DiPietro wrote that the girl had already resisted police, even slipping out of her handcuffs at one point and getting tased while in a police cruiser.
"Obviously, this suspect had shown violent tendencies and I made the prudent decision not to place Officer Strope alone with her, fearing the possibility of further injury," DiPietro wrote.
The sheriff's office report states that Strope did escort the girl to a holding cell at one point.
In the police interview, the girl said she once did ask to talk to a female officer but one didn't appear and that when she was naked in the holding cell with only small towels to cover herself, "At the time I don't think anybody was thinking about me being naked."
The incident started with a theft complaint at Plato's Closet, 8319 Springboro Pike, where a witness told police that the girl placed items into a bag. She then left without paying in a green sport utility vehicle driven by a friend.
Miami Twp. Officer Tim Beatty told sheriff's investigators that he spotted the vehicle on Ohio 741 and attempted a traffic stop. The driver stopped at the Speedway, 3000 W. Alex Bell Road, but the girl jumped out and ran. As he wrestled with the girl, Beatty pepper-sprayed her in the face.
The sheriff's report shows the girl was decontaminated three times, the first by paramedics at the scene, before DiPietro took her to the sally port.
DiPietro continued to work until being placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 18, the day Krug and other township officials received the internal affairs investigative report. DiPietro's current salary is more than $84,000.
DiPeitro's Improper Conduct
-- DiPietro took a photo of the girl's tattoo with his personal cellular phone.
-- DiPietro forwarded the photo of the girl's tattoo to a friend.
-- DiPietro decontaminated the girl after she had been decontaminated three times previously, allowing her to undress before being hosed off and failing to have a female officer aid in the process.
-- DiPietro failed to mark the DVD as evidence or enter it into the property room, keeping a copy of it on his desk for nearly a week.
-- DiPietro showed the girl, naked and covered only with a few small towels, to a female employee.
-- DiPietro failed to submit the proper reports until ordered to by Police Chief Chris Krug.
Coming Sunday: How the investigation of Major John DiPietro is highlighting policy and procedures issues in the Miami Township Police Department.
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