Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Makes Moolah Off Botched Sex Crimes Investigations, and More Sex Crimes May Be Outstanding

Protecting the kids? Tell it to those who suffered because the MCSO botched hundreds of sex crime investigations

Wanna find out how Sheriff Joe Arpaio's boys in beige botched investigations into hundreds of sex crime cases in Maricopa County?

It'll cost ya. Five grand, to be exact. And make the check payable to the MCSO.

Otherwise, you're free to peruse all 10,000 pages of the report, though in very limited spurts. Normally, county working hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

See also: -Joe Arpaio's Deputy Told to Work Fraud Cases Instead of Child Rape Crime -Victims Wonder Why Arpaio Let Sex-Abuse Cases Languish -"Tough" Sheriff Joe Arpaio Let a Murderer Go to Kill Again -Ex-Police Chief's Book Details Arpaio's Negligence in El Mirage Cases -Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Sex-Crime Scandal After Five Years: No One Disciplined, Report Still Unfinished

But the release of the IA report has caused a shift in the office hours of MCSO HQ, according to top MCSO flack Lisa Allen.

"Hours for review after Monday February 11, will be Monday through Friday from 9am to 11am and from 1PM to 4PM, except holidays," Allen wrote in a statement released Friday.

Today's review begins at 3 p.m. So reporters will have two hours to read 10,000 pages (assuming the old office hours are in effect) and summarize the whole megillah for you the home viewer.

Allen is graciously allowing reporters to bring in their own scanners, or you can pick and choose among the 10,000 pages and pay for individual pages at .50 cents per page.

Keep in mind that these are public documents. They belong to the taxpayers, and the MCSO must cough them up, by law.

The MCSO is allowed to charge a reasonable fee, but in this day of electronic and digital communications, other agencies of the state, city and county will often just scan large documents and place them on a CD, which the public can obtain for a nominal fee.

For instance, when the Maricopa County Attorney's Office released the more than 3,200-page report on allegations of wrongdoing by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, the MCAO put it on a CD and charged journalists .60 for it.

Or they could bring a new, unused CD-ROM to MCAO offices, and exchange it with one containing the public docs.

But the MCSO declines to be so civilized. In part, because they don't want to release the report, which has been more than five long years in the making.

In fact, sources say the MCSO has been sitting on the report for some time on the orders of Deputy Chief Brian Sands.

Why release it now? Seems CBS 5/KPHO reporter Morgan Loew has been hounding the MCSO for months to view the docs, and CBS 5's attorney David Bodney recently threatened litigation and gave the MCSO a deadline of today.

Kudos to Loew and CBS 5 for making Joe cry uncle.

The MCSO had told KPHO that the investigation was "ongoing." That's the same excuse the MCSO tried with a superior court judge in April of last year.

But Judge Janet Barton wasn't having it, and ordered the MCSO to "provide to the court a copy of the ongoing internal affairs investigation into Maricopa County Sheriff's Office detective Kim Seagraves," for in camera inspection.

Seagraves, once the head of the MCSO's Special Victims Unit, was to testify in the re-trial of David Anthony, accused of murdering his wife and two stepchildren in 2001. She was the remaining case agent, and the defense wanted the IA, possibly to impeach her testimony.

According to Billy Little, Jr., Anthony's appointed defense counsel, he did use portions of the report during the re-trial, but apparently the complete report was not made part of the record.

Little said he could not share the report with me. He also said that he did not believe the report was complete at the time he got it.

(Anthony was convicted, again, of first degree murder, and sentenced to death. But Anthony cheated the hangman, dying of natural causes in early December.)

It's been speculated that the report clears Seagraves of wrongdoing, and blames the bungling on a lack of manpower for the SVU and on fired, former Chief Deputy David Hendershott, who ordered the investigation terminated in 2009 so Seagraves and the guy doing the investigation, Lt. Bruce Tucker, could spend their time on the politically-charged investigation into former County Schools Superintendent Sandra Dowling.

Essentially, the investigation of sex crimes was way low on the totem pole over at the MCSO. The pet projects of the sheriff, like pursuing his political enemies through the so called Maricopa Anti-Corruption Effort, or MACE, and hunting illegal aliens through sweeps and employer raids, took priority.

There was also the MCSO's program of "training" cops in Honduras, which also taxed the SVU unit.

Hell, back in August, I reported on how one MCSO investigator was ordered to do a mortgage fraud investigation instead of work a sex crimes case that is now the subject of a $30 million claim on the county.

And according to one well-placed source, the MCSO recently unearthed a cache of uninvestigated sex crimes dating as far back as 2002.

My source indicates that a couple of bankers boxes, with anywhere from 60 to 90 old, unworked sex crimes cases, have been discovered by the MCSO. About a month or so ago, the MCSO began assigning the cases to detectives, including detectives who lack the proper training to investigate such crimes.

Detectives used to handling fraud and arson cases are now investigating these old sex crimes, I'm told.

One story kicking around the MCSO is that one woman contacted for such an investigation told a detective where to go, as she lost her children to CPS because the MCSO had previously denied the existence to CPS of a sex crimes report filed by the mom.

The possibility of a new round of old sex crimes cases is not surprising, considering the agency involved.

Initially, when I asked the MCSO for all documents regarding these recently discovered cases, they replied that there were no responsive documents matching my request.

Later, I obtained a list of old department report numbers which may be related to this cache of sex crimes. I've asked MCSO for all docs regarding these DRs, and have yet to receive a reply.

(I also asked the MCSO for comment on the cache, and have received no reply.)

In any case, ask yourselves, why wasn't this report released before the November election?

The answer is obvious, and it adds more fuel for the recall of Arpaio being spearheaded by the group Respect Arizona.

Those who want to whine about there just having been an election, should consider these victims left unavenged, and the mockery Arpaio makes of protecting children with stunts such as his faux Columbine, held over the weekend in Fountain Hills, coordinated by overweight B-movie has-been Steven Seagal.

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