Sheriff Arpaio lashes out at 5 Investigates reporter Morgan Loew
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says it was a system problem that caused the department to drop the ball on hundreds of sex crime cases.
MCSO said their special victims unit that handles sex crimes was woefully understaffed.
An internal investigation just released Monday concluded that the "deficiencies identified ... were not problems that stemmed from the conduct of one or a few individuals."
The move follows months of requests by CBS 5 News, which escalated to the threat of legal action if the documents remained withheld.
The attorney for CBS 5 set a deadline of Monday, Feb. 11. On Friday, MCSO announced it would release the 10,000 pages of documents from the investigation Monday.
The documents detailed the extent to which the Special Victims Unit was understaffed from 2004 to 2008. Its five detectives handled an average of 315 sex crimes cases per year.
The investigation revealed how those detectives began cutting corners. They cleared a total of 270 cases without fully investigating them and failed to impound 460 pieces of evidence. In some cases, they took evidence home with them.
In 2006, after complaints about staffing levels from a lieutenant, the sheriff's office approved five additional detective positions and one more sergeant position for the unit. But those officers were diverted to other areas within the sheriff's office.
In 2008, MCSO discovered hundreds of cases that had gone uninvestigated or had been inadequately investigated. At that point, the department began an internal investigation to find out why.
Two deputies in the unit resigned. Five deputies were notified they would be suspended, but on Monday the suspension orders were rescinded.
At the time of the cases, the unit had one sergeant and five detectives. Now they have two sergeants and 11 detectives.
One of the victims of those cases was Sabrina Morrison. She was 13 years old when her uncle raped her in 2007. Despite alerting MCSo to the crime the day after the assault, the case sat idle for four years. The uncle, Patrick Morrison, wasn't arrested until five years later.
"An eighth-grader could have solved this case," said Charles Surrano, who is Sabrina's attorney. "They knew who the suspect was. They knew where he lived. He never left the jurisdiction in all five years the case was neglected."
In an email, the sheriff's office stated that it would provide copies of the reports for $5,000 cash or money order. The Arizona public records law requires government agencies to make documents available for inspection free of charge.
Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:14 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:14:20 GMT
A father is facing charges after police said he left his young kids in a hot car Monday in the Gulch area downtown. Police said the dad, Tranquilo Camaja-Lajon, went to orientation for a new job and broughtMore >>
A father is facing charges after police said he left his young kids in a hot car Monday in the Gulch area of downtown.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 8:28 PM EDT2013-05-21 00:28:00 GMT
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating a high-speed chase that came to a deadly end over the weekend, and police say as far as they can tell it was all over a speeding ticket. Shelbyville officersMore >>
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating a high-speed chase that came to a deadly end over the weekend, and police say as far as they can tell it was all over a speeding ticket.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 4:23 PM EDT2013-05-21 20:23:47 GMT
Residents in tornado-stricken Moore, OK, await news on missing love ones Tuesday, a day after a massive tornado devastated the city, killing at least 51. Rescuers worked all night, with particular attentionMore >>
The tornado, with winds up to 200 mph, cut a 20-mile stretch as wide as two miles through the Oklahoma City metro area. The medical examiner's office reported 24 people died, including nine children. More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 11:59 AM EDT2013-05-21 15:59:47 GMT
Power was knocked out to thousands of residents in Nashville overnight after a truck slammed into a pole on White Bridge Road. The crash happened at about 10:50 p.m. Monday near Corbett Lane. As of 6More >>
Power was knocked out to hundreds of residents in Nashville overnight after a truck slammed into a pole on White Bridge Road.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:36 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:36:49 GMT
(RNN) – A day after long track tornadoes devastated Shawnee and Edmond, OK, another round has begun near Oklahoma City.KOCO broadcast a slow rotating cloud that slowly extended down towards the groundMore >>
Dozens of people have died after a second day of tornadoes twisted through Oklahoma, this time taking aim at the town of Moore, south of Oklahoma City.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 4:11 PM EDT2013-05-21 20:11:34 GMT
Ominous clouds over Hendersonville
There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms for northwest Middle Tennessee Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The biggest threat will be west of a line from Waynesboro to Springfield, TN. An upperMore >>