THE SCANDAL AT THE MESA POLICE DEPARTMENT

DICK ELLIGET WAS A HERO COP. HE WAS ALSO A CHILD MOLESTER AND THE CENTER OF A CIRCLE OF POLICE CORRUPTION.

(Elliget is to receive probation for this felony. Laurie wasn't charged, prosecutors say, since she was blindfolded and unable to identify her sex partner as a juvenile.)

This was the atmosphere in which Dick and Laurie Elliget's four daughters were being raised. As oldest daughter Stacie started to mature physically, her father started playing sex games with her.

"At first, it was just like little things," Stacie later told detectives. "He'd walk by and bump into my breasts or stuff like that." Elliget called that game "booby grabbers."

"I really didn't think anything of it at first, until it started getting worse," Stacie said.

Things escalated as she got older. In one game Elliget dubbed "the short-hair pull," Stacie recalled that her father "would try to pull the hair out of my crotch."

Other times, "instead of little grabs, he reached underneath my bra and grabbed me and made me sit on his lap. I didn't like it. It scared me. He used to tell me that nobody could ever touch me the way he could. Only he could."

Earlier this year, Dick Elliget was taking a shower and he shouted to Stacie to fetch him a washcloth. When she brought it, Stacie told police, "he grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me into the shower." Elliget urged his daughter to strip and only released her when he heard the door open. Laurie Elliget walked in and saw her daughter standing there, drenched. Her mother said nothing, according to Stacie.

Dick Elliget also forced Stacie to undergo the massage with baby lotion. A girlfriend advised Stacie to turn her father in before it got any worse, but Stacie hesitated.

So it got worse. Just before school recessed last May, Elliget insisted that Stacie sit for nude photographs with her mother. "He asked me if I wanted to, and first I was like, `No, I don't, no,'" Stacie recalls. "And then he asked me again, and just the way he looked at me, he scared me. I figured if I did it and got it over with, he'd leave me alone."

Mother and daughter posed for Dick Elliget in a variety of ways--standing, sitting, with teddy bears, with their legs spread. Elliget took more than 100 photographs in the first session, according to police property records.

About a week later, Elliget cornered Stacie alone at the house. He wanted to take some more photographs of her, and he wanted her to play with herself while he did so. "He said I had to look like I was enjoying what I did--it made me look more sensuous," Stacie recalls. "I was scared. He kept telling me, `If you're gonna do this, you're gonna do it right, unless you wanna piss me off.' Those were his exact words."

Dick Elliget snapped some photographs, then left for work.
One day, Dick Elliget tossed Stacie a copy of a police report. It was an account of the Russ Staton case--the former Mesa cop Elliget had turned in for child molestation. In a taunting tone, Dick Elliget told his daughter to read it.

Stacie was repelled by the account of child molestation; she was also frightened by her father's machinations within the Mesa Police Department. He was her father, he was a hero cop and he had a terrible temper, but none of that mattered anymore. Elliget was playing "booby grabbers" with Stacie's 13-year-old sister, and she saw her own history with her father repeating itself.

"I wanted to protect my sisters," Stacie later told a detective. So on July 27, 1991, she called Aunt B.J.

THE MESA POLICE searched Dick and Laurie Elliget's home on the evening of July 29. Two detectives, a sergeant, an I.D. technician and Lieutenant Bill Hamilton--the officer in charge of the investigation whose name was in Elliget's sex diary--were present during the search.

Prosecutors Terry Jennings and Ann Williams also watched as the detectives confiscated the nude photographs of Stacie and her mom, two dildos, a canister containing a small amount of marijuana and other items.

They also located the sex diary. B.J. Elliget had told detectives of the diary her brother-in-law had been compiling for "insurance." She says she knew about it from Stacie. "It's going to hurt a lot of people if it comes out," B.J. told detectives.

"The key is the diary," one department veteran tells New Times. "Everything is hush-hush about it, because it's got names and dates in it."

The Mesa cops turned over the diary and two sets of index cards that also recounted Laurie Elliget's sexual encounters to the County Attorney's Office. Prosecutor Terry Jennings points to that as evidence that the Elliget investigation was on the up-and-up.

"The Mesa police invited us to participate in the whole thing from square one," Jennings says. "They wanted us to hold onto certain evidence as to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Everything was done by the book."

Not quite. The Mesa Police Department and the County Attorney's Office decided there was nothing improper about a law-enforcement agency investigating its own officers for possible criminal violations. And so the Mesa Police Department was allowed to investigate the Elliget case, even after the sex diary linked some of its high-ranking supervisors to the scandal.

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