AG's Office clears Babeu of criminal wrongdoing - CBS 5 - KPHO

AG's Office clears Babeu of criminal wrongdoing

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Sheriff Babeu held a news conference on Friday responding to the results of the investigation. Sheriff Babeu held a news conference on Friday responding to the results of the investigation.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in regard to a personal relationship with a former boyfriend, according to Solicitor General Dave Cole.

Babeu's former boyfriend, Jose Orozco, accused Babeu of abuse of authority, threats and intimidation and Babeu asked the Arizona Attorney General's office to investigate Orozco's claims.

Shortly after the allegations came to light, a number of risque photos of the sheriff were made public over the internet. A number of pictures were posted on dating websites.

Babeu, in turn, accused Orozco of theft of property and identity theft stemming from Orozco's handling of Babeu-related websites and twitter accounts.

Cole oversaw the investigation after Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne was screened from the process to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest.

"The Attorney General's Office will not file charges against either Babeu or Orozco," Cole said.  "The investigation determined that Babeu did not commit any criminal violations and further concluded that although Orozco conducted himself in a manner that may constitute a violation of the law, there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction on anything more than a misdemeanor charge. It would be an inappropriate use of already-limited resources to prosecute Orozco for a misdemeanor."

Babeu released the following statement on Friday.

"I knew how this would end, because I knew the truth, yet I had to prove my innocence. Today, I'm fully cleared of these false attacks designed to ruin me. Some in the media worked their agenda hard to prove me guilty, regardless of the facts. In America, everyone is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, yet I had to prove my innocence. The 400,000 citizens that I serve saw through these election year attacks and media sensationalism. The fact that I'm gay doesn't matter. I want to be judged by the value I add to my community, by my performance and results. We won 42 percent more votes than my closest opponent in the Republican primary. The people who know me best, know we've done an exceptional job as Sheriff and that these allegations were false."

Babeu told reporters during a news conference in Florence Friday, that he believed the scandal was started by his political opponents attempting to ruin his career.

However, there are still a number of unanswered questions surrounding the case.

Specifically, whether Babeu violated any of his own policies when it comes to inappropriate conduct.

According to Pinal County Sheriff Office's own policy, "an employee should refrain from any social-media activity that will compromise or damage the mission, function, reputation or professionalism of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office or its employees."

"I think it's clear that the sheriff either opened several websites himself or authorized them to be opened," Cole said.

CBS5 tried to ask Babeu if there was an internal investigation going on to determine whether he might have violated his own policy, but the sheriff refused to answer any questions.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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