Sheriff Joe Failed To Investigate Over 400 Sex Crimes, Including Molestations Of Undocumented Children


Written by Tanya Somanader

Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) spends a lot of time playing politics and apparently no time doing his actual job. The AP reports that, over a three-year period ending in 2007, Arpaio “inadequately investigated” or in some instances didn’t even work more than 400 sex-crimes reported to his office. The cases “include dozens of alleged child molestations.”

In El Mirage, Arizona, where Arpaio provided contract services, he failed to follow through on at least 32 reported child molestations — with some victims as young as 2. Many of the children were undocumented immigrants. According to an El Mirage detective, Arpaio’s people essentially “put their feet on the desk, and that was that”:

In El Mirage alone, where Arpaio’s office was providing contract police services, officials discovered at least 32 reported child molestations — with victims as young as 2 — in which the sheriff’s office failed to follow through, even though suspects were known in all but six cases. [...]

El Mirage Detective Jerry Laird, who reviewed some the investigations, learned from a summary of 50 to 75 cases files he picked up from Arpaio’s office that an overwhelming majority of them hadn’t been worked. That meant there were no follow-up reports, no collection of additional forensic evidence and zero effort made after the initial report of the crime was taken.

“I think that at some point prior to the contract [for police services] running out, they put their feet on the desk, and that was that,” Laird said.

Arpaio refused to answer questions for months and “declined a public records request for an internal affairs report, citing potential disciplinary actions.” He acknowledged his office completed an internal probe into the investigations, but said, “I don’t think it’s right to get into it until we get to the bottom of this and see if there’s disciplinary action against any employees.”

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


Related Stories:

Perry Gets “Sheriff Joe” Endorsement

Arpaio Revives Birtherism, GOP Candidates Get In Line

Is Arizona Set to Change Tack on Immigration?


Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr


Karen Nelson
m nielsen6 years ago

This is just the tip of the iceberg concerning Arpaio. He hasn't been doing his elected job for years. I think the people in Arizona are finally fed up: he has lost the support of all the newspapers. Taxpayers in Maricopa County have shelled out $100,000,000 for wrongful deaths and other illegal actions by his depaetment.

Ann G.
Ann G6 years ago

“I don’t think it’s right to get into it until we get to the bottom of this and see if there’s disciplinary action against any employees.” Um, you?

Newguest C.
W. C6 years ago


Jason Shepard
Past Member 6 years ago

@Kathryn E.: I never said I wasn't angry at the businesses that are offering these jobs to illegals. They are the enticement that is causing illegal immigrants to cross our borders illegally and they need to be shut down the same as our borders need to be secured. I am all in favor of hefty fines and loss of business license for businesses that hire illegals and pay below minimum wage wages. But I don't, for even a minute, think that doing so will be the only solution needed. We still need to secure our border as these businesses are not the only reason they come. They come for the free ride as well: Free health care, free food, free money, etc. Solving the problem is going to require a multi-faceted solution: Securing the borders, fining businesses as stated above, ending anchor babies, ending the possibility of the free ride, and improving enforcement. Only then will the problem truly be solved.

@James H.: You obviously didn't read all of my postings on this thread, so I'm not going to waste my time repeating myself by responding to you. Read ALL of my comments and maybe you'll get a clue. You quite obviously missed a couple of the most recent ones. Thanks for the good laugh, though. Even my 75-year-old father doesn't use the term "whipper-snapper" anymore. I haven't heard that in at least a decade and a half...

JAMES HOLLEY6 years ago

There are two types of torts, torts of commission and torts of omission. One is a wrong that someone commits, the other is a wrong that one commits by failing to do something.
Therefore, Sheriff Joe is not only guilty of theft, but of torts of omission.
Joe Arpaio needs to be tried for the criminal charge of torts of omission and made to pay for all the same damages (financial, medical, lost wages, loss of consortum, pain and suffering, etc.) that we hold others to in same or similar situations. Said criminal charges need to be followed by a class action law suit against the department for improper management of employees (and gross negligence should result in punitive charges against the department), and then some attorney needs to do an assets check on good-ole Sheriff Joe and begin the civil lawsuits.
Plain and simple, torts of omission are a crime and as a former licensed adjuster, this just needs to be settled like we do all other torts. Why is Sheriff Joe immune to the laws of this country? Is this still the old west?
Jason, you young whipper-snapper, I was born in Jasper County, Texas, where those idiots dragged that poor man to death for the color of his skin. I remember segregation. I remember people who I loved not being able to sit with me in a restaurant. I remember the woman who was like a grandmother to me not being allowed to drink out of the same water fountain as I did. I REMEMBER STUPIDITY AND IGNORANCE. So don't go blowing that smoke up my bohu

Catt R.
Catt R6 years ago

the white man had no VISA when he arrived in a few years the white man began systematic genocide of the natives....... Now we claim that we are the rightful owners of this land and claim God is on our side.

Our own history tells others we will accept them as the rightful owners of the land.... if they commit genocide against the current occupants, just as we did.

No wonder the nation is paranoid.................. they SHOULD be out to get us...... to my way of thinking our only hope is to let the world know there are some of us left that have more than a half dozen brain cells still working.... everyone, please, either figure out what God issued you a brain for, or just shut-up until you figure it out.

JAMES HOLLEY6 years ago

Jason, your comment "as an american"...well, if you want to play that game, i've been an american longer than you, you young whipper-snapper, and therefore, by your rules, my voice has more say than yours? Personally, I don't give a coon's stripe about where you were born, wrong is wrong and STEALING IS WRONG!!!
I've fired a lot of employees over the years, but I have never fired an employee who stole as much money as Sheriff Joe has. Any time I pay an employee for a job and they don't do it, I fire them, and I do so not because they didn't finish the job, but because OF ALL THE MONEY THEY COST ME by not doing their job.
Sheriff Joe didn't do his job, therefore he has stolen from his employer and needs, NEEDS, to be fired. And this has been a part of my AMERICAN ETHIC that I have lived by for almost 60 years. Maybe when you grow up you, too, will realize that STEALING IS NOT AMERICAN!!!

JAMES HOLLEY6 years ago

hey friends, we need to stop for a moment and forget about the victims (just for a moment now, but never entirely, the victims are who we are fighting for...) and look at the basics.
Sheriff Joe was paid to do a job and didn't do it. Technically, that's steeling from the employer. Theft is grounds for termination, arrest, and imprisonment. What we need to do is determine how much money Sheriff Joe stole from the citizenship by not doing his job, and then arrest him for said theft, and then cart his sorry as off to prison.
Plain and simple, Joe Arpaio stole tens of thousands of dollars from the citizens of Arizona who paid him to do a job which he didn't do. Arrest him and put the old fossil in a cage!! Done, done, and done! He's a thief, now justice demands that we treat him like one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kathryn Edwards
Kathryn Edwards6 years ago

Jason, you should be angry at the corporations that are now lobbing Congress to give these people visa's to come to our country to pick the crops for very low wages, you know the bottom line profits and I'm sure that Congress will give it to them.
This article is about a Sheriff that did not investigate over 400 sex crimes many being child sexual abuse, so these abusers are still among the population as a whole doesn't this disgust you? Not only that these criminals know who they can target and get away with it.
Your right many cases are "lost" or forgotten usually the poor and disenfranchised not people that can and will fight back against them. This is pretty simple "if they are illegals they have no protection under his laws they are dispensable humans".
God forgive this ideology because I'm having a hard time forgiving people who bully and abuse those unable or who are to frighten to do anything to protect themselves.
Where has our humanity gone has it come down to the path of the Corporations.
Corporations don't want us to look at anything that they are doing to hurt the people. People who blame the illegals in this country should do a little history and find out why they have come to America in the first place because they have been brought here by corporations for cheap labor that is also dispensable once they don't need them anymore.
Granted we don't need anymore people at all coming here except maybe Dr.'s which the AMA has lobbied Congre

Marianne C.
Marianne C6 years ago

I have no sympathy for illegal aliens who think that once they're here, the entire country is their pearl. I want them sent back to their countries of origin, and I want something serious done to make it less desirable for them to come here illegally in the first place. No illegal alien deserves free benefits from the government here -- which aren't free, anyway; we pay for them. I want employers who hire undocumented aliens fined and forced to pay the cost of repatriating the illegals. I want a serious effort made to prevent people from crossing our borders illegally for the purpose of living here and sucking up benefits.

However, no matter how illegal an alien is, he/she still has certain human rights, and among them are to not be murdered, to not be assaulted, to not be raped, and to not be a victim of child molesting. To refuse to investigate those crimes because he suspected the victims were or might be illegals, just goes beyond any level of logic and decency. And as I said, before, it left sex criminals free to roam among us. There's no excuse for that, no defense that holds water.

"Sheriff Joe" has been a national embarrassment long enough. I's past time for him to realize that the law applies to HIM, too.