The lineup of supporters included Supervisor Bryan Martyn, Chief Deputy Sheriff Steve Henry, and Cheryl Chase, Babeu’s community relations officer. Backing them was a phalanx of grim-looking uniformed and civilian employees, all of who serve at the Sheriff’s will. Steve Henry and Cheryl Chase have indicated they will be candidates for public office. Taking a page from the Paul Babeu playbook, they have not declared they will get off the County payroll, choosing instead to campaign while being paid by Pinal County taxpayers.
Addressing the press, Babeu repeatedly declared that his online solicitation for male sex and use of provocative photographs was his "private and personal business” unrelated to his position as the County Sheriff. Why then a press conference arranged by County staff at the County office; why his County Sheriff’s uniform, why the County logo podium, why the support team comprised of County employees arriving in County vehicles -- all public resources brazenly and, to this taxpayer, illegally converted to his personal use! In other words, political theater for the besieged sheriff at the taxpayers' expense.
The self-destructive Sheriff pathetically tried shifting attention to his involuntary disclosure of his previously hidden persona, clearly designed to divert attention from a potentially damning criminal offense -- attempts at silencing his Mexican ex-lover, which are illegal actions constituting unlawful abuse of authority.
The public is left to ponder what else has the hypocritical Sheriff attempted to cover up? What else lies hidden in the cluttered closet of the self-described American hero? Additional vetting by a newly energized free press and fed-up citizens may soon provide enlightening answers to these questions.
Pinal County taxpayers should not have to tolerate Babeu’s scandalous violations of the County's code of ethics and conduct; nor should we be expected to overlook his budget-busting overspending projected to cost County taxpayers $3.2 million.
I ask San Tan Valley residents to join other County residents in demanding the immediate resignation of Sheriff Babeu.
Moreover, only impartial and independent investigations can help remove the growing clouds of suspicion and distrust that engulf the Sheriff's Office. County residents must demand that our Board of Supervisors and our County Attorney seek immediate and impartial investigations by Arizona’s Attorney General and by the U.S. Justice Department. Anything less will not restore confidence in the rule of law.