Arizona Sheriff Denies Journalist Access to Press Conference
A high-ranking sheriff’s official in Arizona refused to allow a television news reporter into a press conference on the basis that the reporter “hates the sheriff.”
But the reporter only exposed an embarrassing truth about Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu that the sheriff had been denying for years.
That he was, in fact, a sadistic schoolmaster who oversaw and encouraged the abuse of children during a prior career more than a decade ago in Massachusetts.
ABC15’s Dave Biscobing even had video proof of Babeu from that period, showing the sheriff bragging about how he enjoyed abusing the students, forcing them into corners for hours and weeks at a time.
And that apparently is the reason why Babeu’s director of administration, Tim Gaffney, barred Biscobing from entering the press conference Tuesday at the Pinal County Sheriff’s headquarters while allowing other reporters inside.
“You just have a problem with reporting accurately,” Gaffney stated, unable to point out exactly what was inaccurate about Biscobing’s scathing report, which was published in January.
It was an arrogant, unconstitutional move which is now backfiring on the sheriff and his henchman.
Babeu, after all, is running for congress this year, so the power move allowed two of his opponents to quickly criticize the sheriff’s actions as despicable.
And ABC15 says it will likely take legal action against Babeu from barring its reporter into the press conference.
Meanwhile, Biscobing’s series of investigative reports on Babeu will likely be receiving a lot more attention now than it did when it first aired.
Especially considering Babeu had previously denied any knowledge of the abuse that took place at the boarding school where he served as headmaster and executive director from 1999 to 2001.
Babeu has also previously denied having an “inappropriate” sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student at the DeSisto School in Massachusetts when he was headmaster and executive director during his early 30s.
But several former students as well as his own sister claim otherwise.
It was, in fact, Lucy Babeu, a longtime critic of her brother, who sent Biscobing the home video of the 1999 Christmas family gathering where he sat around a table, bragging about the abuse that took place at the school.
“I have thousands of videos of Paul’s career,” Lucy Babeu said in an interview with Photography is Not a Crime.
“I have more to come.”
After leaving the Massachusetts school, Babeu moved to Arizona in 2002 where he became a Chandler police officer. He was then elected as Pinal County Sheriff in 2008.
And four years later in 2012, he ran as a republican for congress on an anti-illegal immigrant platform.
But he was forced to drop out of the race after the Phoenix New Times revealed that he had a longtime homosexual lover from Mexico whom he was threatening to deport if he did not remain silent about their affair.
Out of the closet and out of the congressional race, Babeu hopped into the sheriff’s race and was reelected in 2012 before he announced his congressional candidacy in 2015, once again, promising to crackdown on illegal immigration.
But then ABC15’s Dave Biscobing came along, who has been investigating Babeu for years, publishing a series of new reports in January 2016 under the banner “Abusing the Truth.”
Since that report was published, the Goldwater Institute, a conservative organization based in Phoenix, said it is looking into the possibility that Babeu is using money seized in civil forfeiture to promote his congressional campaign.
Also, a website called Arizona Conservative News is vowing to post some upcoming articles that further prove Babeu is as corrupt as they come, indicating he does not have the support of the state’s republican base.
Last year, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Babeu and his department over their habit of seizing personal property from citizens not charged with a crime, then selling the property to fill their pockets with money.
And then’s there Tim Gaffney, Babeu’s henchman in the video, who was investigated in 2012 for destroying public records to hinder an investigation into the department.
According to the Phoenix New Times:
A letter from the Pima County Attorney’s Office dated July 10 confirms that Tim Gaffney, Babeu’s spokesman, “removed thousands of emails from his personal computer archive that were responsive to the Arizona Republic’s public records requests and to requests from the U.S.Office of Special Counsel and the Arizona Attorney General.”
But, Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, writes that there was “conflicting evidence” as to whether Gaffrey knew that the Pinal County’s Information Technology Department maintained duplicates of those e-mails when he wiped them from his own computer.
There is “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Gaffney possessed the … intent to defraud or deceive,” Le Wall writes, adding that it is a “necessary and indispensable element of the crime of tampering or attempted tampering with a public record.”
So, they decided not to pursue charges in the case.
Gaffney then filed a lawsuit against a former county manager who sparked the investigation, claiming he had suffered “emotional distress” from being investigated.
In 2015, an appeals court dismissed Gaffney’s suit, but his lawyer vowed to continue fighting the case.
But considering Gaffney was the one denying Biscobing entrance into the press conference earlier this week, his lawyer should be preparing to defend him on what hopefully will result in a lawsuit against him and Babeu.
Below are three videos, including the one where Biscobing is denied entrance into the press conference as well as Biscobing’s news reports from January 2016 on the newly surfaced video and his February 2012 report where Babeu denied any knowledge of the abuse at the school.