FLORENCE, Ariz. – Today, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has released the findings of their seven month comprehensive investigation completed at the request of Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. The findings show without question, Sheriff Babeu was fully cleared of any allegation of wrongdoing, threat of deportation and abuse of authority.
Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “I knew how this would end, because I knew the truth, yet I had to prove my innocence. Today, I’m fully cleared of these false attacks designed to ruin me. Some in the media worked their agenda hard to prove me guilty, regardless of the facts. In America, everyone is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, yet I had to prove my innocence. The 400,000 citizens that I serve saw through these election year attacks and media sensationalism. The fact that I’m gay doesn’t matter. I want to be judged by the value I add to my community, by my performance and results. We won 42% more votes than my closest opponent in the republican primary. The people who know me best, know we’ve done an exceptional job as Sheriff and that these allegations were false.
|Sheriff Paul Babeu|
On February 19th, 2012 Sheriff Babeu requested the Arizona Attorney General’s Office conduct a comprehensive investigation into the allegations reported by a local tabloid. While Sheriff Babeu and others knew all along the allegations were completely false he requested the independent investigation in order to show transparency and allow the truth to come out. The investigation was assigned to the Arizona Solicitor General for investigation. While the investigation was running its course, members of the media and political opponents continued to spread these false allegations against Sheriff Babeu.
What is truly disheartening is the fact that the private photos were shopped around for months to several media outlets by both Jose and Sheriff Babeu’s political opponents in an effort to bring out the fact that the Sheriff is gay. This was confirmed not only to members of our office by members of the media but also later in news articles.
On February 21st, 2012 the Tucson Sentinel reported, “The sheriffʹs political opponents have contacted reporters offering information about his sexuality on numerous occasions. It took the New Times report alleging an abuse of office by Babeu for his private life to make a news story
On February 25th, 2012 the L.A. Times reported, “Many Arizona journalists say they knew or suspected he was gay; an assignment editor at a local news station said that in the last year, his station had received photographs of Babeu in casual poses with men in social situations. But no outlet in a position to publish the story thought it was news
Nobody ran with the story because it is not against the law to be gay nor should an individual’s private life have to be played out publicly. It took the false allegation of a deportation threat in order to make this into a story. Once that allegation was made, the story was not just covered in Arizona but also nationally and internationally.
Even after the L.A. Times and Arizona Republic confirmed the word deportation was not used nor any form of it, still stories were repeatedly created in an effort to keep this alive. In fact after the Arizona Republic confirmed on March 7th, the word “deportation” was not used nor any form of it, they still used the word deportation in nearly every story they wrote about Sheriff Babeu.
On February 25th, 2012 the Los Angeles Times reported that Melissa Weiss-Riner the attorney representing Jose said, “the word “deportation” was not used.”
On March 7th, 2012 the Arizona Republic reported that Melissa Weiss-Riner, the attorney representing Jose said, “the word “deportation” nor any form of the word was ever used.”
Sheriff Babeu concluded, “The truth has won out in the end. I was attacked personally, professionally and politically with these false allegations and today I’m fully cleared. It’s no surprise these attacks came during an election year in a failed attempt to destroy me. I want the media and my political opponents to know; my name has been cleared, I shall not be silenced by your slander and I will continue to proudly do my job and serve my county, state and nation with the renewed strength and conviction. I want to thank my family, friends and all those who have stood by me. It’s easy to stand with me when I’m America’s Sheriff of the Year, yet true friendship was evident when you’ve never left me even when I was bombarded with unrelenting false attacks. This experience has allowed me to experience a more meaningful sense of friendship, love and support with a power I could have only imagined. I’m overwhelmed. Thank you!