Sheriff Joe's Office Fell Short on Sex Crimes
More than 400 cases, many involving children, not properly examined
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2011 3:48 PM CST
In this Oct. 18, 2011 file photo, a judge swears in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the Arizona Supreme Court in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Jack Kurtz, Pool, File)

(Newser) – Sheriff Joe Arpaio calls himself "America's Toughest Sheriff," but apparently his office has not been so tough when it comes to sex crimes. More than 400 such crimes—dozens of them alleged child molestations—were barely investigated or completely uninvestigated after being reported to Arpaio's office during a three-year period that ended in 2007, the AP reports. In El Mirage, where Arpaio's office provided contract police services, many of those cases involved illegal immigrants; one former police chief believes whoever made the call not to pursue the cases knew that most illegal immigrants would not complain about the quality of the police work.

"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," says an El Mirage detective who found that the majority of some 50 to 75 cases he reviewed included no follow-up reports, additional forensic evidence collection, or anything at all after the initial report. A sheriff's official says inadequately investigated cases were later followed up on, and Arpaio says an internal probe was completed, but while some cases were eventually given to prosecutors, most were not viable because too much time had passed. Click for the AP's full story.