Editor’s note: The contents of this report are challenging and it is important to note several issues: The accused has not been charged with any crime, and what should not be at issue is the accused’s sexual orientation. We’re reporting this story because we know our readers will learn of it elsewhere, and we want to help frame the issues properly.
The Arizona Sheriff who appeared in then-presidential candidate John McCain‘s “Build the dang fence” anti-immigration advertisement is now embroiled in a public scandal including accusations that he threatened a man who claims to be his Mexican ex-boyfriend with deportation, sexual photos posted to the gay dating website Adam4Adam, and a claim that he demanded his ex-boyfriend sign a statement promising to never disclose their relationship. The first-term Sheriff, Paul Babeu, is running as a Republican for Congress.
Babeu became a frequent guest commentator on Fox News after appearing with McCain in an ad about border security, even though his territory is at least 70 miles away from the border. In the ad, Babeu states, “with all the illegals in America, more than half come through Arizona.”
An extensive report in the Phoenix New Times details text messages, offers photos of Sheriff Babeu in various states of undress, and other photos that are presumed to be the Sheriff, his Adam4Adam dating profile, and statements from the accuser.
The Huffington Post adds:
Though he acknowledged Jose was a campaign volunteer who helped on his first campaign for sheriff in 2008, Babeu — who is currently running for Congress in his home state – declined to respond to questions about whether he and the man had had a romantic relationship, saying he would not discuss his personal life, according to the Arizona Republic. When pressed for a comment by KSAZ, Babue’s attorney nonetheless slammed the allegations against his client: “He believes he’ll be judged by his record as a 20-year veteran of the United States Armed Forces, police officer who has saved two lives in the line of duty and responded to thousands of emergencies, and Iraq war veteran.”
At issue here is not that the Sheriff might be gay, rather, that, if these accusations are true, a law enforcement officer has used his position of authority and power to intimidate and provoke a man who represents several minority groups — gays, immigrants, Hispanics — and that the culture in America allows this type of harassment to exist. Further, a law enforcement officer who has built his career on the backs of immigrants and border security, if these accusations are true, had a sexual and professional relationship with someone he knew was in the country “illegally.” There are many elements to this case, and it’s easy to point out hypocrisies.
From the Phoenix New Times:
Informed of the situation, Nancy-Jo Merritt, a longtime Phoenix immigration attorney, says such a threat would be indicative of an “atmosphere that’s been created politically in this state, so that if you get angry at someone who is Hispanic, you immediately jump down to the level of threatening to deport him.
“If what [Babeu's attorney] says is correct [about Jose's being illegal], either the sheriff had a long relationship with someone he knew was undocumented, while all the time being Mr. Bluster about the border and using it for political gain,” or he threatened to deport someone he just broke up with, Merritt says.
“That’s just the worst kind of hypocrisy.”
She adds that federal immigration-enforcement agents have better things to do than “take care of Babeu’s boyfriends.”
Antonio Bustamante, a criminal defense attorney and immigration activist, tells New Times that if the allegations against Babeu are true, “To use a position of authority . . . and make legal threats opens a Pandora’s box of ethics issues for any law enforcement person or any elected person. In this case, he’s both.”
The other issue is that the Phoenix New Times article suggests Babeau has a possibly more-than-friends relationship with openly gay Tucson state Representative and Democrat Matt Heinz.
An article titled “Paul Babeu private immigrant sex slave operation revealed by former boyfriend, and Matt Heinz involvement“ in today’s Tucson Citizen notes:
What this story reveals is disturbing for many reasons.
First of all, though every person I ever talked to about this already knew Babeu was gay, and there is nothing wrong with that, I wondered how the right-wing could suddenly turn off their own criticism of homosexuality just this once (still hating other members of the GLBT community) when it came to the Republican front-runner for the new CD4.
Then we remember that the newly elected Sheriff shot into the national headlines after he went on a white supremacist radio show. Some people were appalled by this; yet for others this is what they needed, a new Fox News right-wing star to replace the aging Arpaio.
Complete with Mexican-hating and skin-head.
Except for when Paul Babeu doesn’t hate Mexicans, but loves them all night long. But even in gay-love, Babeu’s evilness comes out when he uses his position of power to threaten his undocumented Mexican lover with deportation.
Two quick things are wrong with this. One is that Babeu knew the immigration status of Jose (read the New Times article to learn more about Jose, the pics and the text messages) and as the top law man in Pinal County, the new toughest sheriff in America did not report Jose to ICE. I would actually applaud for Babeu for this but he was not doing this out of kindness for immigrants, but in exchange for a sex slave.
And this is the second thing (among many other things) that is wrong. Paul Babeu had his own private immigrant sex slave operation going on, and he’s supposed to be the Sheriff.
So why is Paul Babeu the front-runner for CD4, and why is he the new darling of the right-wing and Fox News? Jon Justice loves him too even as he hates Pima’s Dupnik.
What this reveals to me is that in Arizona, the hatred for Chicanos and Mexicans is so great that right-wing haters are willing to overlook all other things as long as you hate brown people as much as they do.
The sex lives of elected officials are not our business until they conflict with their public policies, and until they become hypocritical. It’s important to look at all angles of stories like these.
Also, TPM notes:
Babeu is planning to hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. local time in Arizona to address the allegations, according to a tweet from Arizona Republic reporter Rebekah Sanders.
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.