It is similar outrage that moved DeSisto alumni to speak out against their former headmaster and the abusive treatment they received, partially under his reign.

The New York student, who attended DeSisto from 1998 to 2003, is surprised to hear that Babeu now describes himself as a career-long advocate for victims' rights.

"When did he become that guy? When did he become so involved in victims' rights? Why didn't he see problems in the [DeSisto] program, see that things needed to change?" she says. "He would hear about kids starving in the corner . . . You'd think he would know that was wrong."

Melissa Burech, sent to the school from West Virginia when she was 15 because of a history of depression, says, "Things got worse" during Babeu's reign.

"He signed up to be an administrator at this school, and he didn't do anything to help us or change what was happening there," she says.

When state officials finally got on campus and gained access to students, their files, and school staff, the school was ordered to immediately stop its most abusive practices — such as strip-searching students, barricading them in their bedrooms with mattresses (or with staff sleeping outside doors), and banishing them to remote areas of the campus.

Students, sent to what was known as the "farm," were not allowed to attend academic classes and were forced to perform manual labor for five to eight hours a day before they could eat or drink, Massachusetts child welfare authorities reported.

"We had to cut down trees or restore the buildings," Burech says. "It was a big joke that we attended the school of the janitorial arts."

The former student from New York recalls being forced to hold hands with several other girls for days at a time, no matter where they went, unless they were sleeping or eating meals that were limited to 15 minutes each.

"We had to go to the restrooms that way, take showers that way, get dressed — try to put on our underwear that way," she says. "We had to hold hands under the stalls and, even if we had a male staff member [supervising], we had to ask for permission to take our hands apart so we could do what we needed to do in the bathroom. It was humiliating."

She says they would rotate so that each girl had a chance to be at the end of the human chain and have the privilege of a free hand.

"We all had different problems, obviously; that's why we were in that school," she says. "But we weren't stupid. We knew this behavior was wrong, and we knew it wasn't helping. It was just a way of torturing us."

Burech now is attending school to become an occupational therapist.

"If I saw [Babeu] today, I would say 'thank you' because those horrible experiences taught me to be a fighter," she says. "No matter what, he is part of my past. But I'm speaking up now because I want to inform Arizona about his past so he doesn't become part of our future."

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
146 comments
callmelefty
callmelefty

I still have a problem with inappropriate behavior with a student and one who is attending a school for troubled teens. Anyone in a postion of power should never engage in a relationship of any kind. There is no defense that erases what is known. As to what might have happened that we do not know remains to be scene.

Eleanor Holguin
Eleanor Holguin

I think what remains to be seen is exactly how much of a sexual predator Paul Babeu is.......among many other things.

Babeu
Babeu

Hi Norman Cummins,
Hope you are doing well. I just want to say, you have a lot more courage and strength than you know. I am very sorry for everything that happened to you at DeSisto. Paul is a liar and will never tell the truth. He will just do further damage to people that speak up about it. Don't let him stop you. Please never put yourself down, there are enough people out there willing to do it for you. The word mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. If Paul knew any better, but he doesn't because he is not trained in that area, which proves he should have never been in charge at Desisto, he would understand what that word entails. You need to talk to people that do understand how that abuse effected you life. And there are plenty out there. My hopes in telling the truth about Paul and his role there was to bring forward people that were abused at DeSisto. And I thank you for having the courage to come forward. You are a true hero for being alive and being able to talk about it. I am very happy that Monica and the rest of phoenix newtimes is providing a venue for this to come out. You have more friends then just Melissa. She is so strong to stand up for all the students at DeSisto and to Paul Babeu. He will do anything to put her down, like he did me. The abusive things Paul has done to people is hardly out yet. There is more to come. Stay positive and never being ashamed of something that you did not do to yourself. I will stand strong with you. Remember, you are doing the right thing by speaking out. Secrets are a terrible thing. This is not Paul's private life, this is about the sickness of Paul Babeu that he needs to be accountable for. I wish you the best and hugs to you. Lucy Babeu

Norman Cummins
Norman Cummins

Thanks Lucy,hope you are doing well also,sorry I haven't replied earlier,I am getting ready to move.Don't feel sorry for what happened to us there,it wasn't your fault.You are very kind and caring,and I appreciate that.I don't feel like a hero though,I just wanted to chime in and tell my part in some of the things that went on in that school.I do feel bad for the things you have been through,you are a strong,good person.Be well,and hugs to you also

Norman Cummins

Melissa Burech
Melissa Burech

Paul can put me down as much as he wants but I will continue talking. People say we are making him look bad but he has dug his own grave. I want to let other victims of abuse that it is okay to speak up. I was shut up for so long and now that I have a chance I am taking it. This whole issue has brought up issues that I have blocked out of my mind and it is taking a toll on other areas of my life, but I am hoping by doing this I will get some closure. I am already feeling better by talking about it. I am living a normal life and will graduate college in December. Before all of this came up I had already planned to move out of state once I am finished with school, but now it is definite. I have many issues with Arizona politically and for personal reasons. People can try to shut me up, bring me down, or put me down, but unless you know me personally then your opinion means nothing to me. I dont care if all former desisto students back me up or not. If I have to fight alone I will but luckily there are some people in the fight with me and others backing us up. I am a fair and kind person I only make my final judgements about a person on their character and Paul has horrible character. I do not care if he is gay straight black white old young etc. He is a bad person and should not be in any position of authority. He needs to man up and be honest instead of keep quiet, although the longer he keeps quiet the worse it makes him look to those in doubt. Thank you to those backing me and the others up.

Anonymous
Anonymous

As a former DeSisto student/inmate myself, I'd like to say that I witnessed the occurrence of all the abuse listed in this article (and more). I was there before Babeu's tenure, but it sounds like the horrid craziness of Desisto just got worse under his supervision. I'd love to see someone held accountable for the abuse that occurred there.

Much respect to Melissa Burech and Lucy Babeu for bringing much-deserved shame down on this hypocritical hater. Don't let the bastards get you down.

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland

Lucy, Thank you for sharing with us about your brother. It was just a matter of time before things came out and he would be discovered. That is all his doing.

I appreciate you having the courage to stand up to him and show him you are not afraid of him. That says a lot about you. Stay strong. I think as you have seen people are changing their minds about what you have been saying. Thanks again. Take care.

Babeu
Babeu

Alice in Wonderland,
Thank you for your kind words and also for giving encouraging words to Norman. It is so wonderful to see your compassion for people that have been abused. My whole family has threatened me for the last four years except for my brother Fran. Paul has even called him to try to pin him against me. Paul calls being gay his own private life. It is not private when you use your sexuality to hurt other people Then he tries to say he is a single gay guy. Well, a single gay guy does not go with tons of men just for his own sexual pleasure and toss the aside like meat or ask them to sign a contract to keep the releationship quiet. Paul is a disgrace to real gay people, that have a loving relationship. Nothing that Paul does is loving, it is for his own self gratification and he does not care who he hurts. This is just the beginning, because sexual abuse, rape, violence and incest in our family is not something that is private and Paul has a hard lesson to learn. We are all adults now and we have the right to talk about what is going on and what we went through. The DeSisto abuse has bothered me for so long, and I had no idea when I talked to abc.15 that these students would come forward. I call them the true heroes. The more people like you that we have supporting them and telling them it was not there fault, some healing can take place. Thanks again for your comments. Also, you are doing a wonderful job with your support to everyone. Best regards, Lucy Babeu

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland

Lucy,

Thank you. I have wanted to tell you that for a very long time. You are a very brave woman and I have a huge amount of respect for you.

Do you live here in the valley? Please contact me if you would like. mekindt2000@yahoo.com maybe we can meet someday if you do....

Thank you again for being so brave and doing the right thing.

Jesus Cristo de Nogales
Jesus Cristo de Nogales

Why does the New Times rag waste our time with these worthless stories instead of dealing with issues that are slowly destroying the US? Leave it to the Phoenix "New" Times news to post any and all stories that take attention away from the most serious destruction of the American way of life. We should all be concentrating on how we end the illegal Mexican occupation of America and return the occupiers back to Mexico! Gustavo Arellano will head the program. Are you with us people?

Conrad Barb
Conrad Barb

So he would give them head and make them all better? They say(once that way,that's how they stay)

Azdi8888
Azdi8888

Since he was headmaster at a school, wouldn't you think that he would be seen around the school? Not sure what the real point is of this article.

Leavenow
Leavenow

Your reading comprehension skills are lacking.

TellTheTruth
TellTheTruth

It is when he WASN'T there and was off campus romping with his student toy that is the point of this article.

azbluesgal
azbluesgal

I do t suppose you actually read the whole story? I mean what did you NOT understand? Doesn't. That creepy pic explain everything? No wonder we can't vote anyone with brains into office. Yuck. AZ average IQ must be around 77.

marcelo
marcelo

My IQ? But it does not take a genius to realize some of our politicians are racist. 602 ALL DAY.

marcelo
marcelo

Oh and sexualy supressed borderline homosexuals.

Melissa Burech
Melissa Burech

ps my iq is 134

Armand Brun
Armand Brun

Funny! I just read articles a while back about how people who claim to have high IQ’s usually exaggerate. It also pointed out that a true genius (your claim) wouldn’t point that fact out.
Maybe you should take the 1 from your claimed IQ. I bet it’s closer to the real number

Melissa Burech
Melissa Burech

i am not from here that would be something id be ashamed of (i thought being born and raised in wv was bad) luckily i have a max of 9 months left in az maybe 5 if all goes well

Babeu
Babeu

Melissa,
I am Paul's sister Lucy,( not proud to say that) I appreciate you coming forward and speaking the truth. Paul does not have a sister bobbi. He does have a sister in AZ named Veronica, who goes by Roni, Carroll is some lady that works at Circle K., Paul orders Veronica around and they both are a pair of the worst liar in the world. She has been stopped at least 4 times for traffic violations and she tells them she is the Sheriff sister and she gets off. She thinks this is a big joke.
I could go on and on about her and the illegal activities, but we will save that for later.
Just wanted to clarify, that I am not Bobbi, Keep up the great work. Lucy Babeu

azbluesgal
azbluesgal

i have accounts at aol and gmail too. WV girls - we really should have coffee. ;)

azbluesgal
azbluesgal

left WV in 1976 to join the military before you were born. I would not waste the time to go back in spite of the fact that i am better looking than i ever was back then. I am the poster child for "late bloomer". I would like to start my own self help group for people that can't get relief at the other groups. I finally have the secret and nobody wants it.

Melissa Burech
Melissa Burech

too funny did you know someone named diana carroll or her sis bobbi ?

azbluesgal
azbluesgal

Sorry double post typing on iPad with sore finer.lol

azbluesgal
azbluesgal

oh really I grew up in New Martinsville, " a town without pity" - an old old song from the 50's. Wow I thought that was backward until i moved to AZ.. LOL My sister told me she saw my IQ score, and it was higher than hers, but she never liked me much anyway. lol

Jesus Cristo de Nogales
Jesus Cristo de Nogales

Tell Mexican President Calderon that his country must stop exporting illegal Mexican occupiers of the United States. Gustavo Arellano and Steve Gallardo will help Calderon in stopping this illegal occupution. By Exporting illegal gay Mexican occupiers to seduce our straight American sheriffs, La Raza is attempting to destroy law enforcement in the US. Are you with me America?

morale sucks
morale sucks

Who's to blame. I say Babeu/studboi1. It is not about being gay. What matters, is the fact that he allowed his sexual preference to interfer and Babeu made some very bad choices.

Pictures and text on social media sites are not conducive to privacy. Yes, it is his private life, but Babeu chose to make it public, threats, pictures, text on the internet.

If this had been someone other than Babeu, they would have been relieved from duty and sent home. Yet Babeu thinks he is above policy, procedure, rules, law and just plain common sense. Not the type of leader needed at PCSO.

A honorable leader would save PCSO, Pinal County and the citizens of Pinal County the embarrassment. Don't forget about the employees of PCSO, who have to listen to the complaints, cat calls and deal with Babeu's actions in their daily duties. I pray this is over soon for their sake. By the way morale has hit rock bottom.

Everyone knows that Babeu needs to and should resign immediately. That would be the honorable thing to do.

There are others in PCSO that are very much respected and could lead until the elction in November. I truly believe that.

Avenger
Avenger

So, does everyone still think this is only about being Gay!!!! This man is a two faced Scumbag and I am sick of hearing about How swell he is!!! This is only the Tip of the Iceberg??

Guest
Guest

You are correct sir!

Citizenkane
Citizenkane

Glad to hear that Sheriff Studboi's Deputies consider him a joke.....They are able to see through his bullshit and see what a wack-job their boss is. We support you Deputies...It's the pervert Sheriff Studboi who is the aberration.

TellTheTruth
TellTheTruth

There are several groups of deputies and civilians at PCSO.

Sheriffs happen. One group has the hard working, unselfish employees that have done a good job and will keep doing a good job, no matter who the sheriff is. The majority, and I hope they remain the majority.

Another group has those that are hanging on with Babeu, as either poor gamblers, risk-takers with their careers or they are in at-will or probationary positions. Most of those happy faces you saw at his conference on Feb. 18th weren't there on a Saturday during a 3-day weekend for any reason but job security. It must be rough.

A third group has those running wild in the agency, following the lead of Babeu (with his grasp of ethics, rule bending and honor) and enjoying privileges while violating policies and statutes as they please.

"Use of force" scandals at PCSO are next to be uncovered. There are pockets in PCSO that are no better than some abuses at DeSisto, except it is people in the general population that are being abused now. That does not include or address the abuse of certain agency employees.

As Avenger said, this isn't about gayness. It is partly about cronyism and corruption; two big words that you might pay attention to now. These same two words were big planks in the Babeu promises for change when he first ran for sheriff.

We are now starting to see what those planks, and many others he promised, have built or are building. It needs to stop. It needs to be replaced.

A new sheriff needs to be someone besides Babeu's current rubber-stamping, in-on-everything chief deputy Steve Henry.

And with that new sheriff, whoever it ends up being January 2013, you will see some frowning faces in the second and third groups listed above. You folks just might be facing some rough times, a lot of it based on who you supported and why. That does happen in life sometimes.

This guy was predictable and some of you employees at PCSO still won't step back and take an objective look. Hope your dedication and loyalty to him works out for you.

ChaCha
ChaCha

That picture of DeSisto is really icky-creepy. It sums up the total icky-creepy factor of the school.

azbluesgal
azbluesgal

SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS, BAD OLD EYES... I STILL CAN'T STOP LOOKING AT THAT PIC OF BABOON'S BOSS....I HAVE TO STOP DOING IT BECAUSE IT MAKES ME PHYSICALLY SICK. I grew up in the '50's and people that are in the world did not exist and when they did they were dealt with in a very swift and not so gentile manner. there also was no help for troubled teens - my older brother committed suicide in 1960 (he was ADD like myself) diagnosis and treatment was unheard of back in the old days. I was also a psych nurse around here in the '90's and did some time in a particularly disturbing pediatric psychiatric hell hole. Just keeping the kids safe and providing some semblance of order was a challenge.. but THAT place.....i have no words because i can only imagine the unspeakable agony of being abused by the people who are in charge of your existence when you are already confused and need help. we really need to do something. Isn't anybody gonna stand up and do the right thing? thanks for sharing - still deeply disturbed. yuck yuck yuck

Melissa Burech
Melissa Burech

I feel alone because there arent many students that will speak up with me or back me up they are either dont want to think about the past or have babeu come after them all i know to do is what i have been doing and telling my story hoping to open peoples eyes if people know of anything else i can do (that is not threatening or untrue) please let me know and i will try to do it

TeoBuneo
TeoBuneo

Melissa, you are not alone, but I would recommend findinding a good lawyer since that asshole Babeu has the right wing crowd hiring very expensive litigators in a vain attempt to defend the indefensible.Try Mike Manning. Babeu is obviously a mental case who feels he can get away with behavior that is criminal because he is sheriff and he has compromised all of the rightie loons who hate homosexuality, but he has compromised them totally. Sheriff of the year looking like a pedophile and a torturer of children. Sick cocksucker!. I wonder how the creepy bastard thinks he can manipulate them to keep himself out of prison?

azbluesgal
azbluesgal

i am your champion girl, and i am for real about keeping the attention on your story. there comes a point when a person with morals stands up for what is right, and people have called me nutty before, so i could care less. If my story gives any insight into keeping things in for half your life, I am the poster child. I finally decided to get well and not care about what anyone else thinks about it but myself. Yeah, maybe that sounds crazy, but it works for me. BTW - i am 63 years old, 63 inches tall, weigh 130 and wear a size 6.
Not bad for a bulimic alkie who doesn't abuse myself anymore. Still got ADD, but after all these years i would not want to be "normal" if what goes for "normal" these days is actually "normal". Ok i'll quit. Melissa I am behind you all the way.

narizona
narizona

Was up till three last night, playin the blues with my brother in law check it out on my face book  richard ybarra. peace have a nice day

azbluesgal
azbluesgal

I am just an old blues fan..especially hard rockin electric blues.

narizona
narizona

I'll be 63 tomorrow lived here all my life and can't remember when it was any different than it is now ,you just didn't hear about the corruptness unless you knew someone . Cheers azbluesgal.are you a musician?Just wondering about the handle

Melissa Burech
Melissa Burech

thanks i have 174 tattoos i have celebs sign my body then i go get it tattooed its a fun hobby i only have a classmates account because there were some people from school i was looking for (before facebook and myspace) that had totally disappeared when i got out but am now in contact with i dont use it i have a practical to study for and a paper i need to write school is ruling my life but i have 10 events where i can get tattoos in the next few weeks so i will be able to have some fun i cant wait until september when i start my externships because i am doing them out of state and will not be coming back to az woohoo!!!!

azbluesgal
azbluesgal

great tat vid! assume it' you. we both got classmtes account, but i would not pay to see who is looking for me..they did not like me then so why would they like me now? Besides, now they would hate me because i am cuter the older i get. lol no self esteem problems here. lol oh those books - not SERIOUS reading (bathroom book) but short shifts in one's perception about life can change your whole day. I am heading out to blues blast at the deck park. it is going to be a fabulous day.

Melissa Burech
Melissa Burech

It did take politics for this to get any attention, but it is better late than never. I don't like thinking about what is happening to others, and that is why I feel it is important to share my story and do what I can to make a difference. I am a mentor and will do what it takes to advocate for kids (and adults, but my main focus is kids). I am trying to write a book so that I can reach more people and hopefully it will give others courage to speak up and hope that they can over any obstacle they are faced with. I am not into politics or confrontation, however I felt I had to speak up when I found out Babeu denied knowing what was going on at DeSisto. I also fear that he will do to AZ what he did to us. It seems (according to records I have read) that he is treating the prisoners the same way we were treated. I would have spoken when he was running for sheriff had I known, but I was not living in AZ at the time. I just wish he would be a man and fess up. I think it ironic that he will talk about every other issue thrown at him, but he will not talk about DeSisto. All statements have been through lawers. It is aggravating because I am a student and am trying to maintain my grades, and having to deal with these issues has me quite distracted, but I will not stop until he is stopped. I hate feeling alone because not many students are speaking up, however the support from people on the posts helps a lot.

AnotherMesaVoter
AnotherMesaVoter

People don't like to think about things like this happening to another person. Instead of being supportive they turn the page. The school is closed so a lot of people think it doesn't matter anymore. I know you have to talk about it in order to go through a healing process, so I'm glad you are and I'm sorry you feel alone going through it.
I read a comment on another site where one of the student's said something to the effect that it took politics for anyone to care. It's sad that it's true.
Abuse is still going on and hopefully stories like yours will give people the courage to speak out against it, especially knowing that the true stories will come out in the end. I know how courageous you are.

Melissa Burech
Melissa Burech

i will definitely read when i have time im a student and all of my time is reading anatomy books i put them on my book list :) i am definitely out side of the box if you google my name you will see what i mean

azbluesgal
azbluesgal

Amen. Keep on keeping on. Think outside the box. Read Michael Hernecky and Edward de Bono. I think you might enjoy. Consider that I have figureatively shook your hand and bought you a Starbucks. Lol have a great weekend. BLUES BLAST!

Melissa Burech
Melissa Burech

i appreciate the support normal is over rated i am very quirky and for the most part i dont care what people think i live each day to be the best person i can be i dont always make the best of judgements but i learn from my mistakes i always had people running my life but since i took it back in 06 life has been great and im doing better than i had been doing before

 
Phoenix Concert Tickets
Loading...