ROCKLAND COUNTY (WABC) --A Rockland County correction officer is accused of trading heroin for sex with prostitutes, including one of whom had to be treated for an overdose.
Ronolfo Ventillo went before a judge Wednesday and is free on bail, and he was so intent on hiding his face that he didn't see the table blocking his way out of court.
Until Tuesday, Ventillo was being held at the Rockland County Jail, the very place he's worked for the past 15 years. But now, the 49-year-old is facing charges he supplied heroin to hookers in exchange for sex.
"There's a sense of disappointment, not only on my behalf, but officers in that facility that work hard every day," Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco III said. "They're disappointed in their brother officer."
Ventillo was arrested after the sheriff's office began investigating the overdose of a prostitute Ventillo had allegedly met while she was an inmate. A witness who says she saw the woman get into Ventillo's car called 911 when she overdosed.
"He took no appropriate action as a peace officer, and representing either himself or the department or the training he received," Faclo said.
In court, Ventillo signed an order of protection and surrendered his passport and weapon, terms set by the court as conditions of his bail. Afterwards, his lawyer declined to comment. But the sheriff, who has suspended Ventillo without pay, says he's sending a message.
"I cannot tolerate people breaking the law and breaking our department rules and regulations," he said. "Putting inmates and the public at risk."