He once handed Sheriff Joe Arpaio an award, lauding his work as an anti-illegal immigrant lawman.
Now he sits in Arpaio's gray bar hotel, accused of child molestation.
I'm talking about former minuteman leader, and one-time U.S. Senate hopeful Chris Simcox, who was arrested Wednesday by Phoenix cops on multiple counts related to child molestation and sexual conduct with a minor.
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According to information released by the Phoenix Police Department, the victims are "three young girls under the age of ten."
Currently, Simcox, 52, is being held on these charges in Arpaio's Fourth Avenue Jail.
The PPD's press release states that it believes the incidents occurred "within the last several months," and that, "no further information is being given concerning the victims to protect their identities."
Simcox, a former California kindergarten teacher, was once the best known anti-immigration vigilante in America. The nativist George Clooney. (Or as close as a nativist can get.)A co-founder of the 2005 Minuteman Project with fellow nativist Jim Gilchrist, he was for a long time the photogenic face of the minutemen, a group of rag-tag irregulars who sought to prevent migrants from crossing the United States-Mexico border.
He later split with Gilchrist and headed up Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, which he left in 2009 to begin campaigning for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination against Senator John McCain.
In early 2010, he dropped out of the race to back ex-talk show host and one-time Congressman J.D. Hayworth, who called Simcox "my good friend" on the day he announced. Simcox briefly worked for Hayworth's campaign as well.
Among his many political pals and allies was Arpaio. In December 2008 at Arizona's American-Italian Club in Phoenix, Arpaio spoke before members of MCDC and the nativist extremist group United for a Sovereign America.
In an MCDC YouTube video, Simcox is seen presenting Arpaio with "a plaque of appreciation," both for his "outstanding work in law enforcement" and Arpaio's "efforts in border security and internal enforcement to stop illegal immigration."
Before giving the plaque to Joe, Simcox indulges in a few remarks. One line seems particularly ironic, considering the dissipation of the nativist movement and the immigration reform bill inching through congress.
"We're winning," he told Joe and his audience. "So who cares what the media says?"
As an aside, Joe joked that Simcox sounded like "a diplomat, politician."
Over the years, Arpaio and Simcox were sometimes at the same nativist events and rallies. They were both present at the Hayworth rally mentioned above.
I also recall a 2007 roast of Arpaio in Sun City, where Simcox was one of the roasters and said of the sheriff that he, "made a good case for cloning."
Simcox is just one of Arpaio's many extremist supporters. And Arpaio was not the only politician to whom Simcox cozied up.
A 2005 profile of Simcox by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report magazine recounts how, "[m]ore than 20 U.S. congressmen" were present for a minuteman event in Washington. D.C. that year, six of whom later, "strapped on handguns and participated in Minuteman patrols."
The same profile notes that Simcox met in 2005 with "California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Texas Gov. Rick Perry."
At times articulate and personable, the SPLC reported that Simcox had a darker side, including a federal conviction in 2004 for carrying a semi-automatic handgun onto a national park.
The organization exposed Simcox's contentious relationships with his ex-wives. His second ex-wife Kim Dunbar portrayed Simcox as paranoid, angry and capable of strange, violent outbursts.
The SPLC writes:
"Dunbar said that when their son was 4 years old, Simcox slapped him so hard that a mark remained on his face for two days. Another time, she testified, she grabbed her young son in her arms and jumped out a window because Simcox was throwing furniture at them.
"After such episodes, she said, Simcox would become despondent. `He would stare at walls, mumbling to himself.' In the affidavits, Dunbar said she repeatedly pressured Simcox to seek professional help and even tried to have him hospitalized. But he persistently refused treatment."
Then there were the allegations concerning Simcox's 14 year-old daughter from his first marriage to Deborah Crews.
"He tried to molest our daughter when he was intoxicated," Crews told the SPLC. "When she ran out, he tried to say he was just giving her a leg massage and she got the wrong idea."
And as I reported in June 2010, Simcox's most recent ex-wife Alena Simcox accused him of threatening to kill her, her children and any police who might come calling.
She was granted an order of protection from a Maricopa County court commissioner, and during their divorce, Simcox at one point told the court that he was broke, and sought spousal support from Alena.
Alcohol was allegedly involved in these various incidents.
Simcox was despised by many in the minuteman movement, and dubbed "the Little Prince" for his haughty attitude.
But his good looks and his communication skills, both of which were better than the average nativist, propelled him for several years into the media stratosphere.
He became a Fox News darling (natch), was interviewed for countless newspaper and magazine articles and appeared in documentaries chronicling the nativist movement.
In recent years, he practically fell off the media map, and now has resurfaced in the most unsavory way, with allegations no man in jail would want on him.
By their fruits, ye shall know them: neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, a suicide after murdering four people including a baby girl; minutewoman Shawna Forde, sitting on Arizona's death row for the home-invasion slaying of a nine-year old girl and her father; and now this.
Did I forget anyone? Oh, yes, recalled, former state Senate President Russell Pearce (another Simcox ally), twice defeated in his own conservative East Valley district, in large part because of the hatred he preached, hatred all of these individuals agreed with.
Arpaio, convicted serial racist, is still kicking, though severely boxed in by recent events, and on the decline.
Down the rat hole they all go. They won't be missed.
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