Miami Twp. Deputy police Chief John DiPietro, fired in February for cause on several violations of the township’s professional code relating to his hosing down a naked 17-year-old girl who had been pepper sprayed, has been approved for a disability benefit, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System wrote in an April 18 letter to the township.
“The Ohio PERS Board met on April 17, 2013, and voted to approve” DiPietro’s application for a disability benefit, the retirement system said in a letter to the township.
Reached by phone Monday, DiPietro told the Dayton Daily News he didn’t know about the disability approval and had not received a copy of the letter.
‘I don’t, at present, have any official documentation yet,” said DiPietro, who added that his “numerous” attorneys have advised him not to comment further due to pending litigation against the township, township trustees and specific members of the Miami Twp. Police Department.
Miami Twp. Board of Trustees President Deborah Preston did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
DiPietro did not have enough full-time years as an officer to be granted a full regular retirement. New OPERS disability pension rules state that the amount of money paid in a granted application is based on the employees’ five highest salaries.
The Dayton Daily News in January obtained DiPetro’s OPERS disability benefit application, which was filled out in December. On the application, DiPietro checked the box next to “No” which asked “Is the disabling condition the result of an on-duty illness that occurred during or resulted from the performance of duties under the direct supervision of the employee’s appointing authority?”
In an extensive section that asked about physical demands, DiPietro checked “occasional” for most categories and “frequent” next to walking, sitting and standing. Public records do not reveal the reason a public employee receives a disability benefit.
DiPietro, who started with the Miami Twp. Police Department part-time in 1986 and became full-time in 1989, had been deputy chief for about 12 years. DiPietro has been the subject of other internal investigations and disciplinary action on his way to being named second-in-command with a salary above $84,000. The amount of disability benefit is based on a formula which is not to exceed 45 percent of an employees’ final average salary. For example, if DiPietro’s average salary of his last five years was $80,000, the benefit could be as high as $36,000.
On Oct. 19, Chief Chris Krug placed DiPietro on paid administrative leave — which was superceded by Family and Medical Leave Act time at the request of DiPietro’s attorney, Richard Lipowicz. That’s when Krug received a 57-page internal affairs report citing six inappropriate actions concerning DiPietro’s behavior during the decontamination of the girl, including taking a photo of one of the girl’s tattoos and sending it to a friend, allowing the girl to undress during the decontamination and failing to submit proper reports until ordered to by Krug.
Trustees on Feb. 13 found him guilty of violating rules including addressing professional conduct and personal bearing, responsibilities and general conduct, protection of prisoners, their rights and their property and conduct unbecoming an employee in the public service.
The trustees basically found DiPietro guilty on the overall charge of incompetence, inefficiency, or neglect of duty, and terminated him.
The Dayton Daily News has provided in-depth coverage of this story since October when it first reported that John DiPietro, then the Miami Twp. Deputy police chief, was under investigation for his handling of the decontamination of a 17-year-old girl.