Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Maricopa County Sheriffs Department on Monday released results of a five-year investigation into why the sex-crimes unit mishandled sex-crime cases. "It concluded that no single person was responsible for systemic failures that resulted in hundreds of cases being reopened." MCSO report: Blame the system for botched sexcrime cases:
Last year, an Arizona Republic investigation into the 400-plus reopened
cases revealed that the Sheriff’s Office failed to adequately
investigate reports of sex abuse and assault — in some cases never
interviewing suspects or running background checks on known offenders.
Some sex-crime complaints were completely ignored. In other cases, files were later found gathering dust in a drawer or in a deputy’s garage. Those shortcomings, combined with lengthy delays in resolving cases, left alleged predators free to find other victims — sometimes for years.
The report concluded that detectives who failed to file reports or who improperly stored evidence at home were no more responsible for flawed investigations than supervisors who failed to check log books or who signed off on incomplete case-clearance sheets.
“The deficiencies identified ... were not problems that stemmed from the conduct of one or a few individuals. Rather, I have determined that ... the MCSO sex-crimes unit was inadequately resourced to complete its tasks. The systemic problem could not then, and cannot now, be properly addressed or corrected by disciplining a few individuals,” sheriff’s Deputy Chief Brian Sands wrote last week to detectives at the center of the internal investigation.
“The internal investigation shows that the problems were not unique to
this agency and were systemic in nature,” the statement read. “It is the
policy of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to seek continual
improvement in all its operations.”
As part of the sheriff’s efforts to resolve problems in the unit, investigators reopened more than 400 cases from 2002 through 2008.
This is just a polite way to say that the MCSO sex-crimes unit was a clusterfuck of incompetence that went all the way up the chain of command to the man with whom the buck stops for personal accountability with voters, Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio.
You will recall from last year's trial of racial profiling by the MCSO, Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio doesn't accept personal accountability. "I just play a cartoon sheriff on TV." Arpaio's words used against him at racial-profiling case:
Plaintiff's attorney Stanley Young then quickly moved through other statements Arpaio made through the years regarding immigration enforcement, some of which were contained in the sheriff's press releases and others from his 2008 autobiography.
But Arpaio, as he had done in countless depositions and sworn statements through the years, attempted to deflect responsibility for some of those statements on to his staff members and the co-author of his autobiography.
* * *
Arpaio's recollection on Tuesday was sound, but he refused to take credit for some of the statements attributed to him, and claimed others were taken out of context.
"I don't get involved in those operations," Arpaio said when asked about one of the sheriff's immigration sweeps. "I'm not there on the street patrolling and making arrests."
So to sum up Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio's testimony:
- I'm not responsible for the MCSO, I don't know what the hell my deputies are doing
- Did I say that? I didn't really say that, did I?
- It's everyone elses fault! I'm innocent, I tell ya!
So much for taking personal accountability, and the officer in charge being accountable for the actions of those under his command. Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio is "large and in charge" only when he is playing a cartoon sheriiff on TV, but he is not in charge and everyone else is at fault when legal liability attaches to his actions. MCSO report: Blame the system for botched sexcrime cases:
The investigation laid some of the blame for those flawed cases on
Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s former chief deputy, David Hendershott, who ran the
office’s day-to-day operations until his ouster for alleged misconduct
in 2011. After his departure, Hendershott was blamed for many failures
during his tenure.
The internal investigation refers often to Hendershott, saying he ignored concerns about staffing in the unit responsible for sex-crime investigations.
* * *
The sheriff’s investigative report also blames Hendershott for failure to approve overtime or shift resources to aid the overtaxed unit. The Republic reported that, in fiscal 2007, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved $600,000 for new positions that could have eased the caseload for sex-crimes detectives.
* * *
Records released with the report indicate investigators initially sought suspensions for several supervisors and detectives in the unit, sending each letters that identified the violations of office policy and corresponding punishment.
So Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio is passing the buck, once again, for systemic failures in the MCSO under his command. Ray Stern at The Phoenix New Times writes Arpaio, Learning Nothing From Hendershott Scandal, Delegates Duties to Chief Deputy:
[Arpaio] admitted in an embarrassing news conference [in 2011] that he'd "made mistakes" in dealing with his former chief deputy, Dave Hendershott, whom he fired after evidence of corruption and mismanagement in his office surfaced. He testified last year [in the Joel Fox trial] that he'd delegated operations and management of the sheriff's office to Hendershott, and that Hendershott wasn't even required to report to him on any matter.
Pinal County Sheriff Babeu, after completing an internal investigation of the multi-faceted scandal, told the news media that he believed Arpaio had no clue what was going on his own office, right under his nose. [Known as incompetence.}
The Arizona Republic(an), which just last week was pooh-poohing the idea of an Arpaio recall, appears to be softening its position after the release of the MCSO sex-crimes report. Columnist E.J. Montini wrote Another reason, or two, for an Arpaio recall:
[O]ne reason might be the fact that county supervisors just approved a $550,000 settlement offer for the family of Ernest “Marty” Atencio, 44, who died days after an altercation with jail detention officers and Phoenix police.
It’s just the latest in a long, long line of such cases, with millions in payouts and too many deaths. And the fact that supervisors approved the money doesn’t necessarily mean that Atencio’s family will accept it. They could take the case to court.
And that’s not all.
Another reason for the recall just might be the more than 400 sex-crimes cases from throughout the county that were reported to the Sheriff’s Office between 2002 and 2008 but were not investigated. Or given only the most cursory look. The sheriff’s office is only now releasing the 10,000 pages of documents related to its internal investigation into that horror.
Even columnist Laurie Roberts, who last week was whining "leave Joe Arpaio alone!," appears to be having a change of heart. Sheriff Joe Arpaio still covering up in sex-crime cases:
The internal investigative report, released at 3 p.m. Monday, is 10,000 pages which will take awhile for reporters to digest. But already a couple of outrageous things are clear:
1. Sheriff Joe Arpaio seems to think he can keep the report under wraps — or at least make it more difficult for the public to see. He’s charging $5,000 for a copy of this public document. Or, you can go sit over at the the sheriff’s office and read it. The sheriff could put the thing on a flash drive or a CD and sell it for $10, as the Department of Economic Security does for its lengthy reports. That Arpaio isn’t doing that tells me something and it should tell you something, too. Remember, these are PUBLIC documents and you are entitled to view them. It shouldn’t cost $5,000.
[Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times, Joe Arpaio Makes Moolah Off Botched Sex Crimes Investigations, and More Sex Crimes May Be Outstanding.]
And 2. Deputy Chief Brian Sands says the sex-crimes unit was understaffed and thus no one was to blame for the ignored cases, which spanned from 2002 to 2008. Really, he says that.
“The deficiencies identified …were not problems that stemmed from the conduct of one or a few individuals,” he wrote. “Rather, I have determined that … MCSO was inadequately resourced to complete its tasks. The systemic problem could not then, and cannot now, be properly addressed or corrected by disciplining a few individuals.”
The systemic problem, as he calls it, occurred for six years and it happened right under the nose of Arpaio, who was busy deploying his troops not in search of rapists who prey on children but on dishwashers and cooks who snuck into the country and on political vendettas which are now costing us millions in legal settlements.
The deficiencies identified, Chief Sands, were problems that stemmed from the conduct of one or a few individuals. One, in particular, who didn’t have control over his then-chief deputy (Dave Henderschott) or his office.
What’s that old saying…the buck stops here?
How sad that we don’t have a sheriff who even now, can acknowledge the fact that he failed these children and in so doing, failed us all.
I understand that Respect Arizona is holding an organizational meeting this Saturday to begin circulatiing recall petitions. Check with them for details.