Arizona senators Jon Kyl and John McCain today issued a joint statement saying they are "concerned" with the the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's bungling of several hundred sex-crime investigations.
"Concerned" is as far as the senators would go, though, and rather than calling for Sheriff Joe Arpaio's head -- as several other politicos have done since the botched investigations started getting national media attention -- the senators instead vow to support any request for additional Justice Department resources to make sure that something like this never happens again.
See the senators' pussified response to Arpaio's 432 botched sex-crime investigations below:
"We are concerned by the recent press accounts of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's handling of alleged sex-crimes cases, some of them involving children. Victims of abuse not only deserve the respect of law enforcement, but their rights must also be protected throughout the criminal justice process. Laws that we have championed are intended to give a voice to victims of crime. We intend to support state and local authorities' requests for any additional assets from the Justice Department that are necessary to properly investigate and prosecute these and other cases, including those which need to be investigated by other law enforcement agencies."
The sheriff's response to the senators' press release is stupefying.
"I appreciate the offer of assistance by Senators McCain and Kyl to help this office and other major law enforcement agencies in the valley that currently have the same problem we did back in 2007," Arpaio says.
If the sheriff can find one law enforcement agency in the Valley -- or the entire country, for that matter -- that has the same problems the MCSO had with investigating sex crimes between 2005 and 2007, we would be absolutely stunned.
Arpaio seems to be under the impression that his office's bungling of several hundred sex-crime investigations is no big deal -- a common problem for any large law enforcement agency.
Yesterday, the sheriff fended off criticism of the botched investigations, saying "this is not unique to the sheriff's office because you can talk about four other local agencies -- who I will not identify, but I'm sure you know who they are -- who've had serious other problems just like this in the last 18 months."
As we pointed out in prior posts, Arpaio presumably is talking about "Fast and Furious," the Justice Department's botched gun-smuggling sting, and the Phoenix Police Department's problem with tallying kidnapping statistics.
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Arpaio, yesterday, also brought up the sex scandal at Penn State University. In that case, the university's former football coach, Joe Paterno, got canned after 46 years on the job. Paterno didn't abuse anyone, but the abuse happened on his watch -- the same way 432 sex-crime cases went virtually uninvestigated on Arpaio's watch.
The sheriff, however, dismisses calls for his resignation as political rhetoric from Democrats who disagree with him on his policies on illegal immigration. The headline-hound even went so far as to say some of those calling for his resignation are only doing so to get free publicity by bashing America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff."
We sent McCain spokesman Brian Rogers an email asking the senator's thoughts on asking the Justice Department to take a look at the incompetent sheriff who allowed this to go on -- rather than just expressing his "concern." We'll let you know if we hear back.