Exclusive: MCSO Sex Crimes Internal Investigation Reports Online

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Image: Jamie Peachey
Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a news conference in December 2011 about the sex-crimes investigation debacle.

Portions of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's 10,000-page sex-crimes internal investigation are now available online following a New Times records request.

When the massive report was released to the news media and public on February 8, the agency at first refused New Times' request to put it on a CD. Instead, the office insisted that reporters could either come to MCSO and electronically scan in the paper copy -- or pay the standard rate of 50 cents a page for the report, for a total of $5,000.

New Times pressed the issue, reminding the agency that, under a state Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's public record's law, electronic public records possessed by governmental agencies must release them in electronic format, if so requested.

We're happy to report that MCSO relented, to an extent, and released the documents linked below.

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

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

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This isn't the whole report. Missing are some of the older reports and interview transcripts prepared by Bruce Tucker, the investigator first assigned the internal investigation back in 2008. (However, Tucker's case log was released -- it ends, as previously reported, in 2009 when Hendershott asked him to stop working on the internal affairs investigation because it might interfere with the sheriff's investigation of former Maricopa Schools Superintendent Sandra Dowling.)

What we did get, and what may be worth your time to peruse, is a 160-page case summary and several full interviews with some of the sex-crimes deputies and their supervisors. We haven't reviewed all of this stuff yet, so feel free to point out anything interesting.

Some of the most powerful portions of what you'll see here are the complaints about systemic, organizational and leadership problems that went almost all the way to the top. "Almost," because Arpaio isn't called out for his lack of leadership, but his disgraced, former chief deputy, Dave Hendershott, gets heaps of blame for the problem.

That problem, it's worth adding, was MCSO's worst scandal in Arpaio's 20-year history as sheriff. (Here's another link to our 2012 feature article on the sex-cirmes scandal.)

Dozens of sex-crimes cases were mishandled. Victims -- often children -- went without help or justice. Perpetrators were free to commit new sex crimes, and sometimes did.

Former MCSO Captain Brian Beamish, who acted as police chief for El Mirage under the 2007 contract to provide the town with police services, told an investigator in June of 2011 that the sex-crimes unit was "buried" with too much work -- even before 2007.

Hendershott, to whom Arpaio had handed over the reins of the sheriff's office, pushed for the contract - worth millions to MCSO - and "never factored in the additional manpower needed to cover the extra responsibilities," Beamish said.

He estimated at the time that another 60,000 calls per year would come into MCSO's dispatch center, overwhelming it.

When confronted by Beamish about the looming problems, Hendershott reportedly said, "'We'll authorize overtime. This will all work out.'"

But it didn't.

As we wrote in our 2011 feature article about corruption and problems under Arpaio's watch, abuse of overtime pay was a routine matter for Hendershott.

Beamish also echoes some of the details New Times mentioned in our comprehensive article on the sex-crimes scandal. Beamish told investigators that the MCSO's sex-crimes unit had four detectives before the agency took on the El Mirage responsibilities, and four after. But sometimes, even fewer deputies were available to work sex-crimes cases.

From the summary report, Pages 51-59:

Brian explained that he had also been tasked with helping to put together the MCSO training trip to Honduras. While the SVU was already short-handed, Brian stated they were further tasked with giving up Detectives Rojas and Brooks to help his group put together training manuals for the Honduras trip. [Link not in original.]

Both detectives, according to Brian, were not available for SVU details for several months. He indicated that regardless of who was aware of the staffing deficiencies in the chain of command from Sgt Seagraves to Chief Freeman, the majority of the decisions made regarding staffing levels at that time were made "directly by the Chief Deputy" (Hendershott).

BEAMISH: I mean 100 percent I would stand on a stack of Bibles and swear in front of the Supreme Court that Chief Hendershott made those calls. He was aware of the shortages. He was aware of the potential problems. We pointed those things out to him in advance and said you're gonna, there's no way this is gonna work.


BEAMISH:And he would do things like you know pull his glasses to the bottom of his nose and, and bark at you like you know hey, let's just pretend fora fucking moment that I'm the Chief Deputy..


While Hendershott gets heaps of blame in this new report, none of this gets Arpaio off the hook. As our blog post from last week explained, Arpaio claims he'd turned over the reins of the agency to Hendershott. Whether you believe that or not, either way it's a terrible reflection of Arpaio's leadership.

Arpaio, by the way, told us last week he still delegates operations of his office to his chief deputy, now Jerry Sheridan.

When Licking asked Beamish if he put his concerns about the sex-crime unit's manpower in writing, Beamish explained to him that Hendershott discouraged that sort of thing:

"Okay, well, you can, you can talk around and ask people. He was very big on don't write anything to me. Um, it was very specific I don't want a paper trail on anything."

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danzigsdaddy topcommenter

i think i see Arpaio's plan for law enforcement. he figures that he has to stop illegals  over rape and molestation because most of those kids will age and lose their appeal to the people who prey on them, the hispanics however will always be brown and that appeals to the idiots who keep re-electing him.   and all this time i didnt understand it, it was because i tried to look at it in a way other than as a racist. you miss a lot of his plan if you cant allow yourself to be blinded by hate

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

I realize that this may be a dumb question, but will any of this stuff ever result in criminal indictments?

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

the one thing that should be included in this article is something that KPHO brought up when the report was released.  there was NO activity on these cases for the 2012 year and the investigation was concluded in 2011. the only activity after 2011 was the inclusion of a letter stating that no disciplinary action was taken (and that was included in 2013 when they released the report). so the whole time Arpaio was trying to win back votes that he had lost because of the un-investigated crimes, by saying he re-opened the cases or was having them re-investigated.....WAS A FLAT OUT LIE.  you can read about it by going to the KPHO site and looking up  "MCSO sex crimes investigation blank during election campaign". they took all that info from MCSO's report, that was done by MCSO about MCSO. 


Thanks, Ray, for the work you and Lemons have done staying on top of this.

Arpaio is the elected official in charge of the agency - the agency's CEO, if you will.  As such, Arpaio bears full responsibility for everything that occurs in his agency, whether he handled it personally or not.  Arpaio is responsible and needs to be held accountable. 

david_saint01 topcommenter

all this does is cement the theory of failure of MCSO under the leadership under Arpaio. Whether he is directly involved or not, to admit he has no idea what his people are doing is admitting to negligence. The anti recall people want a valid reason for the recall? There you go...


One could ask either Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne or US Attorney General Eric Holder or the US Attorney for Arizona John Leonardo.  I doubt you would get any sort of useful answer before you heard about it in the 5 PM TV news.  All any of us can do is either hope or pray that the powers that be do the job they are paid and obligated to do.  The rest is in their hands.

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@eric.nelson745  not even to the people who committed the crimes. those cases have been refiled in the MCSO circular file can.  now that the election is over.....out of sight, out of mind. (of course Joe may still try to use these people one more time to avoid the recall)


@danzigsdaddy And that is the exact answer that should be given whenever someone objects to prusuing a recall so closely after the most recent election - Joe lied and lied and lied about his job performance as Sheriff while he was running for office only to release the truth 3 months later and, now that the truth hsa been released, it is appropriate to ask the voters once again if they continue to want him to serve as their Sheriff.

WhoKnows topcommenter

@david_saint01 Read "IF there are any victims", by Bill Louis.

Arpaio either knew, or he needs help to find his office every day.

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@Thane.Eichenauer  not arguing with you Thane, but the whole reason for the election and recall process is there because if the powers that be wont do their jobs (or do it right) we are given the option to take it out of their hands and put it somewhere else. so in a way the whole election and recall is putting it in our hands. we were the ones that screwed up and let him get into office and now its up to us to remove him. hopefully enough people are now seeing that he does NOT enforce all the laws like he claims and do something about it. at what point will the people who did vote for him realize that they are trading the safety of their children just to make a small ineffective dent in immigration?


@WhoKnows @david_saint01 Let's not forget he is driven wherever he doesn't fly to. And when walking he is surrounded by MCSO 'employees' of the knuckle dragging sort. He doesn't attend the budget meetings where every other department head was in attendance. He does only what he wants to do, unless there is a threat of going to jail involved. He is a seriously mentally sick old man.

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