Tough Ariz. Sheriff Botched Sex Crimes: Officers

The Arizona sheriff who bills himself as the U.S.'s toughest — and who could be the U.S.'s most controversial — is under fire for his department’s handling of hundreds of reported sex crimes over a three-year period. More than 400 sex crimes reported to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office were inadequately investigated, according to police officers familiar with them, The Associated Press reports. They included at least 32 reported child molestations where Arpaio’s office allegedly did not follow through; many of the victims were children of illegal immigrants. Arpaio’s office refused to answer questions about the botched investigations, but one top official, Brian Sands, said, “There are policy violations that have occurred here.” Officers have since moved to clear up inadequately investigated sex crimes, he added. Arpaio has drawn praise and ire in the past for his treatment of prisoners, which has drawn civil rights suits, and his sweeps targeting illegal immigrants, which have been criticized as racial profiling.

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