Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Sex-Crime Scandal After Five Years: No One Disciplined, Report Still Unfinished

arpaio at sex crimes presser.jpg

More than five years after the Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio learned his agency had mishandled hundreds of sex-crime investigations, no one has been disciplined and a key report on the matter has yet to be released to the public.

The investigation into what happened is fraught with negative implications for Arpaio, whose decision to choose politics over policing in the mid-2000s resulted in the denial of justice for an unknown number of rape and molestation victims.

Arpaio learned of the debacle in late 2007, when officials in El Mirage -- a west Valley town that had been policed by the Sheriff's office from 2005 to 2007 -- informed Arpaio that problems had been discovered with dozens of sex-crime investigations. The Sheriff's Office ultimately re-examined more than 500 cases, finding that most had not been properly investigated.

The public has yet to learn what Arpaio's long-running internal investigation uncovered in terms of what went wrong, and who screwed up. Presumably, Arpaio's internal probe doesn't address the question of whether Arpaio himself did anything wrong.

See also: Victims Wonder Why Arpaio Let Sex-Abuse Cases Languish


The office has already tried to make scapegoats of lower-level employees who claim, with some supporting evidence, that the sex-crimes unit was kept habitually short-staffed -- sometimes because detectives were redirected to work on assignments like training police officers in Honduras or investigating rumors about one of Arpaio's political enemies, former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.

The Arizona Republic paraphrased Joe Arpaio in December of 2011 as saying that "an internal investigation into the mishandled cases is complete and sheriff's administrators are in the process of disciplining the deputies involved."

It's unclear whether Arpaio's statement back then was true. In any case, it's been a very long "process."

Last week, we asked Lisa Allen, Arpaio's veteran spokeswoman, whether anyone had been disciplined yet.

"We are still working with the County Attorney's office on the disciplinary end to this investigation. We anticipate a resolution soon but unclear as to exactly when," she replied in an email.

Lower-level employees in the sex-crimes unit have been criticized publicly for the scandal by the Sheriff's Office.

The current chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, told reporters in December 2011 that the disciplinary probe -- which he said was expected to wrap up in a week -- centered on five deputies and two detectives, all of whom have since resigned.

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Images: Jamie Peachey
Levalya Beyart of El Mirage told New Times in February that after she reported that her 13-year-old, mentally disabled daughter had apparently been raped in her home, a sheriff's deputy told her the case wasn't a priority.

That's interesting, because a former lead investigator in the misconduct probe determined early on that his three principal leads were the supervisors charged with overseeing the sex-crimes unit: Captain Steve Whitney, Lieutenant Hank Brandimarte, who were supervisors in the General Investigations Division, and then-Sergeant Kim Seagraves, who worked as the leader of the sex-crimes unit.

All three still work for the Sheriff's Office.

In 2009, Sheriff's Office documents show, Lieutenant Bruce Tucker told Hendershott that "the investigation suggested possible policy violations among Whitney, Brandimarte and Seagraves, among others..."

Despite the allegation, Seagraves was promoted to lieutenant in 2009 and made the district commander for the MCSO's Cave Creek district. Checking up today, we found that she's since been transferred to a potentially less-glamorous job in the agency's property division.

Records show that Hendershott, worried that an investigation into Seagraves might have jeopardized one of Arpaio's politically charged cases on which she was working, told Tucker to stop his internal probe on July 31, 2009.

It wasn't started again until sometime in 2011 or perhaps late 2010, after Hendershott was forced out of the Sheriff's Office for various misdeeds.

One area of the investigative report into the sex-crimes unit we'll be looking for, if the report is ever released, is how the probe's focus evolved from Tucker's three supervisors in 2009 to Sheridan's seven lower-level ex-employees by 2011.

The report is likely to be damning, negative news for Sheriff Arpaio, dredging up not only the shocking story of the twice-violated sex-crimes victims, but also of an epoch he'd like to forget -- a time in which he either directed Hendershott to do diabolical things, or didn't know what Hendershott was doing because he'd ceded control of the agency to his chief deputy.

Nothing good for Arpaio can come out of that report. Which may be why the public hasn't yet seen it.

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35 comments
DNichols
DNichols

I love the catagorie for this article; "All the Sheriffs Shredders."

Under Arpaio's Crooked Rule, M.C.S.O. Personell are rewarded for misconduct, wrongful Deaths, stealing in a Court Room, lying for, and covering wrong doing for the "Kin Pin", Ect.

Arpaio's Law?

Arpaio is above U.S., and Arizona Law.

To: Justice in Arizona?!!!

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

I can tell you exactly the date on which the report will be released....the date that Arpaio announces that he is retiring and not running for re-election.

robert_graham
robert_graham

I doubt that ever happened. But even if it did it is because her daughter is black.

JohnnySwift
JohnnySwift

I don't see what fault the sheriff has. if you read the news, the SO took over patrolling of El Mirage on account of the El Mirage PD being a buch of fuck ups. Alll these sex reports are from when El Mirage PD was running the show. These are not new cases from when the sheriff took over.

Lay the blame where it lies - with the former El Mirage Police Department.

comrade
comrade

I doubt that they are going to release any report and if they do, The Mother Fucking Puto Shurf is gonna have nothing to do with it as always, and if he is asked about it, "HE DOESN'T RECALL". because he is under the weather with a touch of the flu.This POS should be dragged out the 19th floor in handcuffs along with jaffy sticking his/her head out of the old fart's hole

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

And the sheriff and his unvetted citizen "posse" are forcing themselves onto school properties to "save the children"?  The children need to be "saved" from the sheriff and his "posse".   

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

MCSO does NOT complete internal investigations, unless the subject of the investigation is deeped 'expendable' and will somehow benefit the shurf.

Nuff said.

Prove me otherwise, YPS...

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

I think Joe was too busing pleasing Jaffy - or the other way around.

narizona
narizona

Fucking asshole is below the maggot in stature!!!!!!!!!!!!1

PissOnArpaio
PissOnArpaio

F-ing Arpaio, what piece's of shit he and his Goons are.

Don't hold your breath for anyone to be accountable or the truth to be revealed by MCSO, lying is all they know how to do.


This whole corrupt agency needs to be flushed down the toilet with Arpaio leading the way..

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

like i said when he "promised" to look back into these cases last year (conveniently during an election), he has milked these victims for all they were worth, so now he will be putting all these files in the circular filing cabinet. he got his election, so he feels no need for any investigations, nor for any disciplinary actions on the people he had (had pulled off of) those cases the first time around. he now has the whole armed posse in the schools debate to keep his fat pug nosed ass in the news now, so if you ask him about the sexual assault cases.....he will have no recollection (again)

robert_graham
robert_graham

@DNichols If you don't like the way things are here then move. We don't want you here anyways.

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@JoeArpaioFan lol yes you did.. "But even if it did it is because her daughter is black." so, either go do what i said or admit you are a punk coward...

bobunf
bobunf

@JoeArpaioFan  I can see that you're a product of good breeding.  Kinda cool for you that your parents are siblings, eh JAF, the troll?

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@JoeArpaioFan id tell you what an ignorant comment that was..but then that wouldnt be anything new. Id rather just say, walk up to the biggest black guy you can find, tell him his daughter deserves to be raped because shes black, and see what happens..If you cant do that then you are nothing more than a punk bitch internet coward...

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@JohnnySwift check the time before you comment...MCSO WAS IN CHARGE of policing El Mirage at the time...there is NO discrepancy there..any attempt to say otherwise is futile and just makes you part of the problem. 

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@JohnnySwift You're wrong.  These cases were first reported during the period that El Mirage did not have its own police department.  Mirage disbanded its police departmentin early 2005 and signed a contract with El MIrage in late 2005 and paid MCSO $3.6 million for the service.  the cases in question originated between the date on which MCSO took over policing in El Mirage and the date that El Mirage reconstituted its police department in 2007.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@JohnnySwift  sure the reports ar from when El Mirage was running the show. when they fired MCSO and started the El Mirage PD, the people that found the problems had to write the reports that MCSO never did while they were the contracted police force during the commision of those crimes (MCSO could have written the reports too.....if they investigated the crimes when the happened and were brought to them)

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@JohnnySwift Nope, when El Mirage restarted their own PD, they found all the cases of sex crimes that MCSO had ignored, when MCSO was contracted to provide law enforcement to El Mirage.  Or do you want to rewrite history for the Clown with a plastic badge?

Bnbk
Bnbk

@JoeArpaioFan @DNichols Hey Joe Arpaio Fan F_ck You,who's this "we" you keep talking about ? Oh, I get it,you're refering to all the voices you're hearing in your head.

robert_graham
robert_graham

@david_saint01 @JoeArpaioFan I knew that would get your attention. I never said that her daughter deserved to be raped. Besides, that black woman was paid to make up her sob story.

DNichols
DNichols

I think "Johnnyswift" is really "JoeArpaio'sAssClown"? (JAF)

robert_graham
robert_graham

@WhoKnows Oh and I suppose you think MCSO is reponsible for crimes happening in Tempe, Mesa, the city of Phoenix, Buckeye and even in Los Angeles don't you?  You'd better think again. El Mirage has their own PD and detectives but it's so easy to blame MCSO isn't it?  Get a clue you moron.  You'd blame Arpaio for the Sandy Hook shootings if you could.

bobunf
bobunf

@JoeArpaioFan I see JAF, the troll, is back at his inflammatory distractions and provocations.

teknik
teknik

@JoeArpaioFan stick your fingers in your ears as you get your pants robbed off of you and then taken from behind.

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