Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Deputy Told to Work Fraud Cases Instead of Child Rape Crime

See also: Joe Arpaio Cares About "the Kids" in Ironic New Campaign Ad See also: Joe Arpaio's Replacement, Paul Penzone, Blasts Sheriff's Handling of Sex Crimes in New Ad See also: Victims Wonder Why Arpaio Let Sex-Abuse Cases Languish See also: Ex-Police Chief's Book Details Arpaio's Negligence in El Mirage Cases

According to a memo written by a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy assigned to a botched sex crime case now threatening to cost the county millions, fraud investigations took precedence over a 13 year-old girl's report of being raped by her uncle.

The March 13, memo from MCSO detective G.J. Edgar to Sergeant P. Dougherty, identified as a supervisor of the Special Victims Unit, offers insight into how such a heinous crime, now the subject of a $30 million notice of claim to the county, was ignored for several years.

This, because Edgar claims her workload and her supervisors dictated otherwise.

The case is one of hundreds of sex crimes investigations that the MCSO has mishandled over the last few years, as resources were diverted to implement Sheriff Joe Arpaio's racial-profiling sweeps and to gin up criminal cases against the sheriff's political enemies.

Indeed, Edgar's memo makes it clear that child rape investigations were low on the MCSO's list of priorities.

Edgar relates that when she was transferred to the Special Victims Unit in 2008, she was told to take with her "a mortgage fraud case that was a special assignment from Deputy Chief B. Knight."

Knight called her a few months later and asked if she had done anything with the mortgage fraud case. Edgar said no. Knight ordered her to tend to it.

"Because this project was from a deputy chief," Edgar writes, "it was made a priority."

She says she told a supervisor at the Special Victims Unit about her working the mortgage fraud investigation.

"I was told to finish the case," she explains.

Meanwhile, Edgar had been assigned an investigation involving allegations of incestuous rape made in 2007 by Mesa 13 year-old Sabrina Morrison against her uncle Patrick Jay Morrison, then 43.

A school counselor learned of Sabrina's claims and reported them to the MCSO, which did an initial investigation and took samples from Sabrina's body for testing.

Two months later, a preliminary report from the Arizona Department of Public Safety indicated the existence of semen in swabs done of Sabrina's vagina.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons