The New York Times piled more criticism of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio this afternoon over his office's record of poorly investigated sex crimes.
Reporter Marc Lacey, in what will be one of his swan-song articles from Arizona before leaving to serve as deputy editor of his paper's foreign desk, writes that the office's "lackadaisical approach to more than 400 sex-crimes cases that has Sheriff Arpaio, 79, in trouble."
Lacey also attended Thursday night's rally in Guadalupe, where allegations surfaced that are similar to the ones in El Mirage:
One young woman said her cousin has tried with no success to get deputies to investigate the molestation of her three daughters. "The person who did it is still out there," she said. "We see him all the time."
Such an accusation shouldn't come as a surprise to close observers of Arpaio's leadership.
As the East Valley Tribune explained in its 2008 Pulitzer-prize winning article, El Mirage wasn't the only problem. Guadalupe and Queen Creek, two other towns that contract with the MCSO, had their own complaints.
Yesterday, Arizona's two senators issued a critical, though muted, statement about the scandal.
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Calls for Arpaio's resignation (mostly by Democrats) have increased. And yesterday afternoon, Bill Louis, former assistant police chief for El Mirage, wrote a scathing opinion column for the Arizona Republic:
So, just how sincere was Sheriff Joe Arpaio in his apologetic comment about whether there are actual victims in the neglected El Mirage cases? He has known about it for at least three years. The facts of this situation speak for themselves.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio failed these victims. At this point there is little that can be done to undo the harm they have endured.
A sincere apology and acceptance of responsibility from Joe Arpaio to these victims would have been the professional and compassionate thing to do. But, instead we once again witnessed Arpaio's smug and defiant attitude -- this time directed towards the very victims he neglected.
But if you're wondering what kind of long-term damage this renewed criticism will have on Arpaio's 2012 campaign, consider this:
After the Tribune broke the above-linked story in 2008, which included evidence that rapes had gone uninvestigated in El Mirage, the newspaper reportedly lost subscribers.