Sheriff Paul Babeu Planning To Take Legal Action Against Local News Station, ABC15?

Speaking recently to reporters who showed up for a Pinal County Board of Supervisors meeting, embattled Sheriff Paul Babeu said that cease and desist notices were filed with a "one news station in particular" and that "there's likely legal action that will follow with that."

ABC 15, along with other media outlets, have reported extensively on Babeu's ties to the DeSisto School, a private boarding school for troubled teens. Babeu was the headmaster and executive director at the Massachusetts school from 1999 to 2001. We left messages for ABC15 regarding Babeu's statements, but haven't heard back.

Babeu remains twisted up over allegations that he was involved in a relationship with a 17-year-old at DeSisto School in Massachusetts while he served as headmaster and executive director of the school. The source of that allegation is Lucy Babeu, the sheriff's sister.

While Babeu and his attorneys have tried to discredit her, and Babeu's apologists have poked fun of her as being "paranoid," her allegations are backed up by several individuals who attended the private boarding school during Babeu's tenure.

Chris DeRose, one of Babeu's attorneys, didn't immediately respond to New Times request for clarification of the sheriff's statement.

Babeu, however, believes the media is engaged in a "wild pile-on," according to a story by Reporter Brian Wright.

The sheriff, who is also trying to hang on to a Congressional campaign in one of Arizona's most conservative districts, is also facing a legal claim for $1 million from ex-boyfriend Jose Orozco, a 34-year-old Mexican man who claims that Babeu and his attorney raised threats of deportation when he refused to sign a disclosure promising to keep silent about their relationship or Babeu's gay lifestyle.

Another sharp criticism of the sheriff -- who has been asked by chairman of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors to step down as Pinal County's top cop -- stems from sexually-explicit text messages and photographs Babeu sent, including a photo of his erect penis, and a profile he kept on a porn-riddled website where gay men can arrange sexual liaisons.

Babeu is facing further scrutiny for his ties to the unlicensed school where state investigators (Massachusetts' Office of Child Care Services) found instances of physical and sexual abuse, dangerous, even life-threatening conditions, and student neglect.

While the sheriff tries to minimize his role during his years as its headmaster, students who attended the school, including Melissa Burech, told New Times that Babeu regularly attended meetings where student treatment and school issues were discussed.

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Monica Alonzo
Contact: Monica Alonzo