Al Heinze was powerful for a while. And why shouldn't he be?
Heinze was the man who made life fine and mellow for the men who run the various prosecutors' offices around the state.

Anytime a prosecutor wanted to go out of town on a seminar, it was the money provided by Heinze's group, the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys Advisory Council, that paid the expenses.

Check over the list of prosecutors who made these trips over the years. You will see that the most prestigious trips to the best locations were always made by the most important men in the County Attorney's Office.

So over the years, a pattern emerged. The most powerful men in every County Attorney's Office around the state owed the most to Al Heinze.

He provided the juice for them to make those "educational" jaunts to San Francisco, New Orleans and Chicago so they could hobnob with other "important" prosecutors around the country.

Heinze also spent a lot of his time at the Arizona State Legislature lobbying for bills that prosecutors wanted passed. For example, Heinze and his great pal, Steve Twist, then the most powerful force in the state Attorney General's Office, were almost single-handedly responsible for the passing of the victim witness laws.

Heinze also spent a great deal of energy chasing women. He was a well-known swinger and a man's man who liked to let everything hang out.

One day at a prosecutor's conference in Sedona, Heinze leaned over to the woman prosecutor seated next to him.

She thought he wanted to whisper something in her ear. Instead, Heinze stuck his tongue in her ear.

The woman recoiled with disgust and anger. Heinze only laughed. The woman tells the story now, but she never filed a formal complaint.

In those days, Al Heinze's sexual antics were common knowledge. But no prosecutor wanted to try to stop him. It just wouldn't have done any good.

Heinze was too important to the men who ran the prosecutorial agencies around the state.

It was at this same conference in Sedona in 1988 that Heinze was accused of raping his law clerk, Colleen Schallock, then 23 years old and a virgin.

Schallock was then a law student at George Washington University. She considered Heinze a mentor and father figure.

But that all changed, Schallock testified last week, when Heinze threw her down on a bed in his hotel room and raped her.

Fittingly, this took place during a prosecutor's conference at a resort. All the bills for room and board for the prosecutors were being paid for by Heinze's group.

It was his party in more than one sense.
What happened to Schallock after this incident is instructive.
First, she went through a period of depression and withdrawal quite common among victims of what is now called "acquaintance rape." She told no one. She went back to law school in Washington, D.C., so ashamed that she determined to keep what happened to her a secret for the rest of her life.

But Schallock's depression passed and she went to the police in Sedona to file charges.

The police brought the charges to the attention of John Verkamp, who was the county prosecutor in Flagstaff.

Verkamp, the Coconino County attorney, informed Schallock that he was also the president of Heinze's group, APAAC.

So Verkamp claimed he had a conflict of interest. He would be unable to file any charges against Heinze.

Verkamp passed the case on to the United States Attorney's Office. There, it was handled by Wally Kleindienst, son of the former United States attorney general who resigned in disgrace during the Nixon administration.

Wally Kleindienst informed Schallock that bringing charges against Heinze would be "inappropriate."

Kleindienst said he believed that Heinze had sex with Schallock against her will. But he just didn't think he could convince a jury of that fact.

Schallock was left with only one option. She filed a civil suit. Surprisingly, so did three other women who had been victimized in the same manner by Heinze.

Last week, while the country was obsessed by the William Kennedy Smith trial, Schallock's story was told to a Maricopa County jury.

Heinze was called to the witness stand. He invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

Within a very short time, the jury came back with a verdict of $2.3 million in favor of Schallock. They said that $900,000 of the money must be paid by APAAC. The rest was assessed to Heinze, who has finally been fired from his job.

This is a sorry chapter in Arizona legal history.
Al Heinze clearly had a free pass to molest women for years. All Heinze had to do in exchange was to provide prosecutors around the state with free junkets.

She thought he wanted to whisper something in her ear. Instead, Heinze stuck his tongue in her ear.

Al Heinze clearly had a free pass to molest women for years. All he had to do was provide prosecutors with free junkets.

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Tom Fitzpatrick