Subject: Slaby Case
Recently our Office has received a continuing stream of phone calls from citizens asking about our Office’s role in the Slaby case, including some requests that we re-investigate it and file a criminal charge or charges against Brenda Slaby. In order to clarify our role this is how the process has evolved in this case.
The tragic incident involving Cecilia Slaby occurred in Union Township. That jurisdiction has its own police department which is totally independent and separate from our Office. They have their own Police Chief (Terry Zinser) and I as Sheriff have no authority or control over their operations or investigations. If we are called by them to assist or provide mutual aid we will do so and vice versa. In this particular case all aspects of the investigation were handled by the Union Township Police and our assistance or involvement was not requested by them. Thus, we had no role in the investigation or in discussions with the Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office.
There is no justification, legal or otherwise, for our Office to re-investigate the case. From all indications and information the case was thoroughly, competently, and professionally investigated by the Union Township Police. That department collected evidence and interviewed Ms. Slaby and other witnesses. There is no reason to believe that a re-investigation of the case would result in any different findings or conclusions than those reached by the Union Township Police.
It is the Prosecutor’s Office and not law enforcement agencies or officers that ultimately determine what criminal charge or charges will be taken forward in court. Most of the time, but not always, there is agreement between prosecutors and law enforcement officers about what charges should be pursued against an individual in a given case. There are times, however, that cases are investigated by a law enforcement agency with intent to prosecute, but the prosecutor through an application of the law to the facts determines that a prosecution is not warranted. In some other cases, the prosecutors determine that additional or more serious charges should be filed. Under the law it is the Prosecutor’s Office that has the final say regarding whether or not a case will be prosecuted. Law enforcement cannot override or circumvent this decision.
In this particular case Don White and his staff upon considering the facts of the case in accordance with applicable law determined that no criminal charge or charges were warranted. Given this it would now be futile as well as legally improper for a law enforcement officer or agency to file a criminal charge against Ms. Slaby. The charge would most certainly be dismissed at the request of the Prosecutor, and in turn the officers and department involved could be liable to her for filing a charge when the County Prosecutor had already decided that no charge was justified.
Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg
Subject: Juvenile Sex Offenders
Over the past several weeks if not months there have been questions as well as confusion about the posting of information concerning registered juvenile sex offenders on the Internet. Although Ohio law allows for this under certain circumstances, the Ohio State Attorney General's Office has recently determined that information involving juvenile sex offenders will NOT be posted on their statewide sex offender website (eSORN). We have not received any definitive reason for this other than this is what the Ohio Attorney General's legal staff has decided. This may be of interest or concern to citizens and others who access the eSORN website to determine if there are any registered sex offenders with whom they may have contact or who may be living nearby. Although registered juvenile sex offenders will not appear on the Internet, Ohio law provides that such information is a public record subject to disclosure. Therefore, in Clermont County the Sheriff's Office will provide juvenile sex offender registration upon inquiry from citizens and others. Instructions for obtaining information concerning Juvenile Sex Offenders in Clermont County, Ohio are noted on our website, www.clermontsheriff.org by clicking the Sex Offenders link on the left side of our homepage. NOTE: At the present time we have only a few registered juvenile sex offenders residing in Clermont County.
Subject: Prize Scam
Lately we have received some reports from Clermont County citizens regarding a prize award scam that is circulating in the area. Citizens are advised they should NOT deposit checks from unknown sources into their bank accounts, which in turn could allow the sender of the checks to obtain personal information or access to the account(s). Furthermore, personal information, social security or bank account numbers should NOT be provided to unknown persons or entities. Since this latest scam has what appears to be national and international connections cases of fraud that might result from the scam could not be fully investigated or prosecuted by local law enforcement agencies. Therefore, reports of such scams are being reported to/forwarded to the local office of the FBI, in Cincinnati the phone is (513) 421-4310.
Subject: Anonymous Tips
From time to time citizens write us letters, e-mail, and call us by phone to provide information and tips concerning alleged criminal activity. Much of the time these tips are provided anonymously and very little in the way of detail is included other than, "Mr. X who lives at (address) is committing crimes." Without more than this there is no action that law enforcement can take against Mr. X, and there is insufficient information for follow up or to investigate the allegations. As a valued partner in the continuing effort to combat crime in our community citizens are invited and encouraged to call, e-mail, or mail us any information they might have concerning criminal activity. Such tips can be provided anonymously, however, SPECIFIC details of the criminal activity including dates, times, and actions are important if not essential to following through with an investigation. Our 24 hour Drug and Crime Tip Hotline is (513) 625-2806.
Subject: Seat Belt Safety
Today is the official beginning of the nationwide "What’s Holding You Back? Click It or Ticket" campaign.
What’s Holding You Back is designed to encourage people to use safety belts. Wearing a safety belt is the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a vehicle. Two-thirds of people killed in traffic crashes in Ohio aren’t wearing safety belts. Of the 28 people killed in Clermont County last year, only 43% had on a safety belt. Some if not many of these folks could be alive today if they had been buckled up. Recent information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the least likely to buckle up are young males, people who live in rural areas, and pick-up truck drivers.
Over the next 2 weeks, you will see increased efforts from all Clermont County law enforcement to encourage the use of safety belts. What’s Holding You Back signs will be up county wide and several communities are doing seat belt checks. Please wear your safety belt, every trip, every time. Encourage your family and friends to buckle up too.
For more information visit http://www.buckleupamerica.org
Subject: Illegal Immigrants
The issue of illegal immigrants has emerged as a top priority item. Although the roots of this problem have been growing for years it has recently taken center stage. We are increasingly being asked what we are doing in Clermont County to address the issue. The good news is that to date we have not have any noticeable criminal activity or other problems related to illegal immigrants. A check with our court system also reveals that the number of illegal immigrants that appear in Clermont County Courts is virtually nil. Simply put, at this time it is not an issue we have had to address here. That being said, however, citizens should rest assured that we will continue to monitor the situation both nationally and locally for any trends or spikes that might occur, and will adjust our approach and operations accordingly. Although I am not suggesting that illegal immigration should be ignored, I believe to a certain extent the issue has taken on greater significance than in past years largely because of political and media attention. The issue or problem however you define it did not suddenly occur overnight. It is only recently with increased news coverage and the statements of some elected officials that illegal immigration has become a hot topic item.
Some citizens have asked what they can do about the illegal immigrant problem. Anyone who has a reliable or credible belief that there are illegal immigrants living or working at a given location should first call the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at (866) 347-2423 or (513) 684-2930. This is the federal government agency that has the responsibility and authority to enforce immigration laws and they are in the best position to take direct and immediate action. Secondarily, if the response received from that agency is not satisfactory a call can be made to the local law enforcement agency in which the illegal immigrants are suspected of living or working. I hope that this information has helped to explain the illegal immigrant situation as it presently exists here in Clermont County.
If you have any questions or comments you may call us at (513) 732-7500 or e-mail us through our website email address.
Subject: United States Deputy Sheriff Association
We have received some inquiries from citizens about the above organization. This organization is NOT affiliated in any manner with Ohio's Sheriffs Offices nor does it provide any monetary or other support to our office in any form. The ONLY Sheriff's Association affiliated with and supportive of Ohio Sheriffs' Offices is the Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association (BSSA) headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The BSSA does NOT conduct any phone solicitation, but rather, a mail only solicitation for Associate Members, usually during the early part of each calendar year. The BSSA does support Ohio Sheriffs' Offices through training, equipment, and legislation. For additional information call 1-800-589-2772.
Subject: Identity Theft
Last year the Clermont County Sheriff's Office had over 60 reported cases of Identity Theft. Many of these involved mail, e-mail, or phone scams. Some contacts involved notice that an award had been won and that personal information (e.g. bank account numbers, etc.) was needed so the award could be processed and deposited. In reality there was no award but monies were withdrawn from bank accounts as a result of the information provided. In some other cases checks were received by citizens for a few or several hundred dollars with instructions to deposit the checks in their bank accounts. Later is was discovered these checks were bogus without any value. Yet, by depositing them citizens' account information was revealed to others.
Simple rules can prevent such scams from resulting in loss:
- Do NOT provide any personal or financial information in response to inquiries from unknown people via door to door solicitations, phone calls, e-mail or otherwise.
- If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is bogus. Do not deposit checks into your accounts from unknown senders. If you do so your identity and account information might be compromised.
- Do NOT send in any money via Western Union or other such means to unknown people. These transfers of money are virtually impossible to trace or recover.
If you suspect you have been the victim of identity theft call your local law enforcement agency.