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“America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio’s office buried reports of sex crimes against immigrants

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You might remember self-described "America's Toughest Sheriff" Joe Arpaio from that time he gave Sarah Plain a pair of pink panties, or from when he was successfully sued for being a racist jerk. Or from when he was parading his female prisoner chain gang around at an MLB All-Star Game. Well, it turns out he's not just a crazy racist and a bad person, he's also a terrible sheriff. It's come to light that over 400 sex-crimes reported to his office during a three-year period ending in 2007 weren't adequately investigated, and in some cases weren't worked at all.

But that's just incompetence, right? Not malicious racism. Certainly not. Oh, wait, no — it's that, too. In El Mirage, AZ, which paid the sheriff's department for services from 2005 to 2007, officials found at least thirty-two reported child molestations (some with victims as young as two years old) that didn't receive an adequate investigation, even though all but six had known suspects. Here's the kicker: many of the victims were children of illegal immigrants. Bill Louis, then-assistant El Mirage police chief, who reviewed the files after Arpaio's contract with El Mirage ended, believes that the lack of follow-up on the cases came from on high:

"I know the investigators. I just cannot believe they would wholesale discount these cases. No way. The direction had to come [from] up the food chain."

There are multiple instances of cases being reported to Arpaio's office, then being ignored for months — in one case, it was eleven months before the case was returned to El Mirage police, at which point they learned it hadn't been worked at all.

Well. This is kind of… sickening. I get that Arizona is and probably always will be a thorny nest of immigration issues, but burying sex crimes because the victims are the children of illegal immigrants is just wrong. Now, there's any number of people that will say, "If they want the full protection of the law, they should have immigrated legally." To which I'll respond, fair. But along with that sentiment is the attendant statement, "I'm fine with child molesters going unpunished, so long as they're only molesting the children of illegal immigrants, who… I guess deserve it?"

Failing to prosecute a crime isn't just an absurd way of punishing someone; it's dangerous to the rest of the community, which now has to deal with another criminal running around. But at least those immigrants know what America's really about, now. That'll learn 'em.