Sheriff Exonerated in|Abuse-of-Power Probe


     PHOENIX (CN) – Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has been cleared of allegations that he threatened to have his ex-boyfriend deported if he revealed their relationship.
     The Arizona Attorney General’s Office announced Friday that no charges would be filed in a case that saw the conservative sheriff publicly outed as gay.
     Babeu, a Tea Party favorite known for his tough stance on immigration, requested the investigation into claims made by Mexican national Jose Orozco. In February, Orozco told the Phoenix New Times that the sheriff had threatened and intimidated him into keeping silent about their relationship.
     Babeu accused Orozco of committing theft while working on the sheriff’s re-election websites and Twitter accounts.
     A $1 million notice of claim filed in March stated that Orozco and Babeu met online in late 2006 and started dating. The threats began after the relationship ended in a fight last September, Orozco claimed.
     Following a seven-month investigation, Solicitor General Dave Cole recommended no action.
     “The Attorney General’s Office will not file charges against either Babeu or Orozco,” Cole said in a statement. “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 has been sheriff of Pinal County, southeast of Phoenix, since 2008. Late last month he won the Republican nomination to seek a second term.

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