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04/19/2007


Ex-Boyfriend Files $1 Million Lawsuit Against Sheriff Paul Babeu

Babeu_orozco

Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu is now facing a lawsuit from his ex-boyfriend Jose Orozcoseeking $1 million in damages, The Republic reports:

The notice of claim, which attorneys for Jose Orozco filed with the sheriff and the county's Board of Supervisors, seeks $1 million in damages, according to County Manager Fritz Behring.  Additional details about the notice of claim were unavailable Monday night. Neither Orozco, nor Orozco's lawyer, Melissa Weiss-Riner, could be reached for comment. Babeu's lawyer also could not be reached.

Tim Gaffney, Sheriff's Office director of communications and grants, issued this statement in response to a request for comment: "A notice of claim was provided to our office earlier today regarding this matter. As with any pending civil litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time."


Sheriff Paul Babeu Discusses LGBT Issues, Said He's Talked to Log Cabin and GOProud

Pinal County, Arizona  Sheriff Paul Babeu gave an interview to the Washington Blade. In the interview with the Blade's Chris Johnson, Babeu talks about his intention to continue as a candidate despite the charges being leveled against him and also discussed various positions on LGBT issues.

Pl_babeuHe said he's been in contact with a few gay groups:

Since coming out, Babeu said he’s been in contact with numerous national LGBT leaders. Among them are heads of conservative groups: R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, and Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud.

Babeu said he’s reached out to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and has friends at the organization. On Saturday evening, Babeu said he was set to talk via phone with Chuck Wolfe, the Victory Fund’s CEO. Babeu said he hasn’t spoken to the Human Rights Campaign, but said he’s a member of the organization and is on its mailing list. The sheriff said he’s made contributions to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and has been a member “in the past.”

He said despite his support for LGBT issues, he voted early for Romney and will vote for Republican leadership if elected:

Despite his pledge to work as an LGBT advocate, as a Republican candidate, Babeu noted he would vote for Republican leadership if elected to the House. Under the leadership of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), pro-LGBT initiatives have seen no progress.

Still, Babeu said he thinks pro-LGBT initiatives will be able to see movement in the 113th Congress even with Republicans in the majority if he’s elected because he’ll work to influence lawmakers.

One piece of legislation he had no comment on was UAFA, which deals with "enabling gay Americans to sponsor their foreign born same-sex partners for residency in the United States."

“To be honest with you, I haven’t read the legislation,” Babeu said. “I’d be happy to read it and give you an answer after that. You know where I stand on all these other issues, which are consistent with being an advocate for equality.”

Read the full interview here.

Last night, an Arizona news station reported that Babeu had once been in charge of a Massachusetts boarding school charged with abuse of its students and had once lived with a male student there against the advice of his sister.


Sheriff Paul Babeu Ran Abusive Boarding School, Lived with Male Student: VIDEO

School_babeu

ABC15 reports that Pinal County, Arizona, Sheriff Paul Babeu once ran The DeSisto School, a Massachusetts boarding school with a history of physical and sexual abuse, such as forcing students to wear sheets, sit facing walls for hours, undergo strip searches and take group showers.

Watch their report, AFTER THE JUMP...

BabeuABC15 adds:

Several students we spoke with say they also knew a secret about Babeu. It was a secret that Babeau’s older sister said she discovered one day after visiting his home. Lucy Babeu told the ABC15 Investigators she confronted her brother after finding a student from DeSisto school living with Babeu.

“I said what is this student from Desisto doing here? He says, ‘Lucy, he's my boyfriend. I love him’.”

Lucy Babeu told us her brother was having a relationship with the male student. 

“I said Paul get a hold of yourself here,” said Lucy. “You were his teacher! You were his Executive Director! You can't do this.”

ABC15 is not identifying the former student. He has not responded to our interview requests. At the time, he was 17 which is the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.

“He was of age. He would be what we considered a high school senior,” said Nielsen.

Babeu left the school in 2001, according to ABC15. Three years later, the state forced DeSisto to shut down.

Watch their report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Sheriff Paul Babeu Ran Abusive Boarding School, Lived with Male Student: VIDEO" »


Sheriff Paul Babeu Raises $14K, Adds 2,200 New Facebook 'Likes' Since Scandal Broke

Sheriff Paul Babeu is weathering the storm brought on by the recent scandal over his ex-boyfriend, Politico reports:

Paul_babeuIn the six days since the Phoenix New Times first reported that Babeu had allegedly threatened an ex-lover with deportation, the campaign has raised nearly $14,000 online. Not one of Babeu’s estimated 10,000 donors has requested a refund; his finance team remains intact; and the campaign has tallied 2,200 new “likes” on Facebook.

In addition, the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans penned a favorable editorial in The Washington Times standing by Babeu and former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe, another openly gay Republican, endorsed the sheriff, calling him a “very honest person.”

Jose_orozcoIn other news, Jose Orozco's attorney says his client is not guilty, KTAR reports:

Attorney A.D. Horan says, "Jose adamantly denies these criminal allegations. He is presumed innocent. This is not about what Jose did, this is a matter that started as a personal relationship which soured, resulting in a civil matter and has now escalated in a criminal allegation."

Jose was not in attendance at the news conference and Horan says there will be no further comment from Jose until the investigation by the Attorney General has been completed.

"As of today we have not received any police report supporting allegations made against my client have been general and to that extent Jose adamantly denies them and will cooperate with the Attorney General."


Orozco's 'Tourist Visa' May Yet Cause Problems for Sheriff Babeu

Talking Points Memo notes that even though Sheriff Paul Babeu and his ex-boyfriend Jose Orozco say Orozco was in the country legally, he may have been illegally pushing the limits of a tourist visa:

BabeuBut as the Arizona Daily Star first noted, US tourist visas generally allow foreign visitors to be in the country for no more than six months at a time. The visas may not expire for a decade, but that doesn’t mean the person is allowed to stay in the United States for more than half a year at a time.

That could be problematic for Orozco, who previously told the Phoenix New Times that he began dating the sheriff in 2006. And it could be equally troublesome for Babeu, who told CNN that he and the man dated for three years.

Prominent immigration attorney David Leopold, who has practiced in Ohio for about 20 years, told TPM that it’s highly unlikely that immigration authorities would have allowed Orozco to stay in the United States with a tourist visa for three to six years.

He said it’s possible Orozco could have stayed for six months, returned to Mexico for a brief time and then asked US immigration authorities to let him come back for another six month stay. But he wouldn’t be able to carry that on for years.

This could pose some problems for Babeu, Leopold adds:

According to US law, it’s a crime to knowingly harbor an undocumented immigrant. A strict reading of the law, Leopold said, would include some of the typical things that couples do, like driving together in a car.

Most of the time, authorities wouldn’t prosecute the boyfriend or girlfriend of someone who has problems with his or her immigration status. But in this case, Babeu is in a position of law enforcement, someone trained to know better. Moreover, he has made a career out of being a hardliner on the subject. A prosecutor and judge would likely hold the sheriff to a higher standard, Leopold said.

“I think the sheriff’s got a problem if that’s what was going on. He’s got a big problem,” Leopold said. “If they indicted him and charged him, there might be some meat to it.”


Gay Former Congressman Jim Kolbe Endorses Sheriff Babeu

Pinal County Sheriff and congressional candidate Paul Babeu, who yesterday asked for an investigation into claims by his ex-boyfriend Jose Orozco that he threatened him over exposing their relationship, has received support from gay former Arizona GOP Rep. Jim Kolbe.

KolbeSaid Kolbe to Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade:

“I endorse Paul Babeu based on his distinguished record of service to his country both in the military and as a law enforcement officer,” Kolbe said. “I think he has a solid understanding of the short and long-term economic problems that face this country and is willing to make the necessary, tough decisions to tackle them.”

Kolbe, who came out in 1996 after being hit with criticism for voting in favor of DOMA, said he knew Babeu was gay prior to last weekend when Babeu announced it in response to the allegations.

Added Kolbe: “I knew he was gay. That is the only thing that I can say that I knew. We had several little discussions about that in my conversations with him. That’s all I would say about that.”


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