Iowa Polygraph Association Lawsuit Withdrawn

In February 2007, News cited a Des Moines Register article about a defamation lawsuit filed by former Iowa Polygraph Association (IPA) president James E. Reistroffer against three members of the Association’s ethics committee: Mike McDermott, Dennis Wilbur, and Jan Caylor Martins. The matter is now settled, with Reistroffer having withdrawn his lawsuit, and each of the three respondents having signed a letter of apology to Reistroffer.

According to Mr. Reistroffer, the original ethics complaint against him arose when, as president of the IPA, he “made an inquiry about the methods of performing examinations on sex offenders” in the state of Iowa. Reistroffer felt that another polygraph examiner “was in error by performing examinations against the standards and practices of the Iowa Polygraph Association and the American Polygraph Association.”

As a consequence of his inquiry, Mr. Reistroffer was removed as president of the IPA and given an oral reprimand. He has since resigned as a member of the IPA and is now the president of a new polygraph organization, the Iowa Polygraph Society.

The respondents’ letter of apology (245 kb PDF), dated 6 June 2008, is addressed to Ms. Judy Scharff of the Iowa Polygraph Association and Mr. Reistroffer and reads as follows:

Dear Ms. Scharff and Mr. Reistroffer:

We, Mike McDermott, Dennis Wilbur and Jan Caylor Martins, as members of the 2006 Iowa Polygraph Association Grievance Committee, take this means to advise you of the following:

1. James E. Reistroffer has brought a defamation action against us in the Iowa District Court for Scott County arising out of our investigation of a complaint concerning him in his capacity as president of the Iowa Polygraph Association in 2006. During the course of that investigation, we made findings adverse to James E. Reistroffer that questioned his ethics, and we recommended to the Iowa Polygraph Association that he be removed as president and that our report be forwarded to the APA Ethics Committee Chair, Donald Weinstein. Based on our recommendation, the association removed James E. Reistroffer from the office of president and precluded him from a board position for a period of three years. He was given an oral reprimand pursuant to our recommendation, and our findings were sent to Donald Weinstein, the chairman of the American Polygraph Association Ethics Committee.

2. We apologize to James E. Reistroffer because our committee had no authority under the by-laws of the Iowa Polygraph Association to make the findings and recommendations set out in our report to the association on April 17, 2006. Information we obtained during our investigation was disseminated beyond our committee and the Iowa Polygraph Association board of directors. It was disclosed to Donald Weinstein, who was not a member of the Iowa Polygraph Association Committee or its board of directors. The findings of our investigation are considered privileged and should not have been released outside of the committee or the board of directors.

3. We do not object to allowing James E. Reistroffer to be restored to full membership without any conditions imposed on his right to hold any office. We similarly have no objection to allowing Anthony Reistroffer to be restored to Iowa Polygraph Association membership.

4. James E. Reistroffer was, in fact, the co-chair of the Grievance Committee of the American Polygraph Association at all times relevant to the inquiry by our committee in 2006.

5. A copy of this statement will be sent to Donald Weinstein, the chairman of the American Polygraph Association Ethics Committee.

6. We apologize for the harm and expense our actions have caused James E. Reistroffer, his family, and the Iowa Polygraph Association.

7. James E. Reistroffer has dismissed his defamation action against us and his claims against us have been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. At this time we wish to move on in a positive direction to benefit all parties involved.

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