Portage County deputy under investigation in rape allegation

Image of emergency lights at night
Photo by Scott Rodgerson

Police in Lyndhurst are investigating an unnamed Portage County sheriff’s deputy in relation to an alleged sexual assault reported on Oct. 19 at a time when the deputy was off duty.

Lyndhurst police have turned the matter over to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office for review and possible charges, Lyndhurst Detective Lt. Michael Scipione said, declining to give the deputy’s name or the nature of the alleged crime.

An incident report filed with Lyndhurst police identifies the call type as “rape,” according to the document, obtained through a public records request.

The Portage County Sheriff’s Office leadership placed the deputy on paid administrative leave when they learned of the allegations, Chief Deputy Ralph Spidalieri said. He said he expects the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office to make a determination toward the end of March.

“It’s their investigation, so they’re not really giving us a whole lot of details, either, just to make sure their investigation is not tampered with,” Spidalieri said.

The deputy does not reside in Lyndhurst but was there, Spidalieri said. He declined to identify the deputy because the person has not been indicted.

“People accuse different people of things, and until there’s an indictment we don’t try to tarnish anybody’s reputation ‘just because,’” Spidalieri said.

Leadership at the sheriff’s office will review the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s findings with Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci and, depending on the outcome, may shift the deputy’s status to unpaid administrative leave or terminate their employment, Spidalieri said.

“We’re hopeful that the information comes back that the situation is different, but if it’s a situation that is not, we’ll have to deal with that when we get to that point,” he said.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.