A key architect of the Victims' Rights Initiative has been accused of sexually abusing at least three female employees.
Allen Heinze, who resigned unexpectedly Friday as executive director of the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys' Advisory Council (APAAC), was already under fire in a $3 million sexual-harassment suit brought by Colleen Shallock, a former APAAC law clerk. Shallock's suit claims that Heinze subjected her to "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature" and hinted that her job depended upon submitting to his advances.
But new documents obtained by New Times show that Heinze is also the target of two additional complaints accusing him of attempted sexual assault, fondling and other sexual misconduct. Debbie Gaudioso and Berta Saunders, both APAAC office workers, detail Heinze's alleged behavior in injury claims filed recently with the Arizona Department of Administration. The women are seeking millions of dollars in damages from Heinze and APAAC.
Heinze, a compact, charismatic ex-cop, has been the state's most influential law-enforcement lobbyist for many years. He is a friend and confidant of Assistant Attorney General Steve Twist, who sought unsuccessfully the Republican nomination for Attorney General in last month's primary. Together, Heinze and Twist led lobbying efforts for a "victims' rights" bill in the state legislature and have worked together on the initiative that will go to voters in the November 6 election. As chief executive of APAAC, Heinze dealt out millions of dollars each year to law-enforcement agencies around the state and was overseen by a council composed of county attorneys and representatives from various other legal agencies.
Heinze had been on leave since Shallock's lawsuit was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court in mid-August. He has not yet responded formally to the charges and declined to discuss the complaints when contacted late last week. "I have no comment on any of this," Heinze said. Asked if he had retained a lawyer, Heinze repeated, "I have no comment at all."
Steve Suskin, chairman of APAAC, also declines to discuss the complaints. "I cannot discuss the merits other than to say these are disputed matters," says Suskin, who is La Paz County Attorney. "To my knowledge, no one on the council had any prior knowledge of these claims. Given what we all know of Al, and the contributions he has made to APAAC over the years, we were surprised and shocked at the allegations."
However, according to an internal DOA investigation of the allegations, Heinze was terminated from a previous job in the state Attorney General's Office for sexual misconduct with an informant during the 1960s. Gaudioso's complaint alleges that Heinze had previously been fired from two jobs with state agencies, including the Attorney General's Office, in both instances because of sexual misconduct.
Assistant Attorney General Linda Thompson, assigned to review the complaints against Heinze, declines comment. "We have not yet been served with the [Shallock] suit, and have not yet sorted out what our response will be to the complaints," Thompson says. Attorney General Bob Corbin and his chief assistant Steve Twist were both out of the office and could not be reached for comment.
Lawyers for Heinze's alleged victims also are refusing to comment, saying trial rules prevent them from discussing cases outside the courtroom.
Shallock alleges in the DOA report that Heinze began making sexual overtures toward her soon after she was hired as a summer intern in 1988. She claims his behavior became increasingly aggressive, and charges that Heinze raped her at a Sedona hotel where APAAC was holding its annual conference in August 1988.
"[Shallock] said she and Al went to her room because he wanted to talk to her," the DOA report says. "She said Al put her on the bed and pulled her shorts down. She said she started crying and tried to stop him. She said he started to stop, but said something like `stupid bitch' and continued on. . . . He then took off his clothes and then had intercourse. He used a washcloth to wipe himself off."
Shallock told DOA the rape was especially traumatic because she is Catholic and was a virgin at the time, and because she had considered Heinze a "mentor, confidant and good friend." The report also says Shallock remained in contact with Heinze after she moved away to attend law school, and agreed to meet him for lunch on one occasion when she was back in Phoenix "trying to sort out her feelings."
"They ate lunch and were en route back to the office when Al pulled over into a lot near the office and leaned against her, pushing her back against the passenger seat," the report says. "He put his hand in her pants and made penetration. She told him to stop and take her to her car. He then took his finger and sucked on it, saying something like, `Catholic girls are always the sweetest.' "
Shallock told the DOA she subsequently sought counseling and decided to press charges and bring a damage suit "because she needed to confront the facts."
The DOA report says that Heinze "vehemently denied" having any inappropriate contact with Shallock, or going to her room at the conference, and further claimed that her behavior was "clingy."
DOA investigators, however, quote accounts from Gaudioso and Saunders, as well as several other employees, alleging similar conduct by Heinze.
Gaudioso alleges in her complaint that Heinze propositioned her soon after she was employed by APAAC in 1986. Gaudioso claims that Heinze told her he was "the Pharaoh" and she was his "slave" and insisted she meet him at a bar away from work, the DOA report says. Gaudioso says she agreed to have sex with Heinze in that one instance, but told him the following day it would not be repeated. She subsequently sought psychological counseling about the incident and told investigators her therapist felt she had been subjected to sex under coercion.
Gaudioso claims that Heinze made lewd remarks and unwelcomed advances "almost every day" after the incident, saying Heinze repeatedly grabbed her breasts or buttocks during the course of work.
"In early August of this year, Ms. Gaudioso was complaining of gynecological problems in the office," the DOA report says. "This conversation was overheard by Mr. Heinze. His response was to say to Ms. Gaudioso, while obscenely grabbing his crotch, `Come see Dr. Heinze, I've got the tools. I'll do it cheaper.'"
Saunders, a legal secretary at APAAC since 1984, told DOA investigators that Heinze attempted to have sex with her at a conference in 1984 under circumstances similar to those recounted by Colleen Shallock. Saunders claims Heinze offered to help her check in to her hotel room and carried her bag to her room. "He got very close to her, held her in his arms and tried to kiss her," the DOA report says. "He was close enough for her to feel his erection. When she told him `No,' she said he replied, `Why not?'" Saunders says she subsequently asked another employee James Kneller to stay with her throughout the night because she was afraid Heinze would return. Saunders, like Gaudioso, claims the sexual harassment has continued throughout her employment.
Heinze told investigators Saunders was drunk and he had merely tried to see her to her room so she wouldn't get hurt. James Kneller is quoted in the report as saying Saunders was not drunk, and confirming she called him to help her, telling him, "Al tried to rape me." Not all the APAAC women felt Heinze's behavior was harassing, the DOA report said, and several said the entire office engaged in similar behavior. The DOA report quotes former employee Diana Norvell, now a Phoenix city prosecutor, as saying APAAC routinely provided assistance to law enforcement agencies working on particularly "grim and gruesome" cases and that crude humor was used to release tension.
Heinze is required to respond to Shallock's suit by October 26. He must respond to the other two complaints within sixty days.
"She said he started to stop, but said something like `stupid bitch' and continued on.