May 5, 2005
Former sheriff’s candidate Dan Saban and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are adversaries again — this time in a courtroom.
Saban filed suit Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court alleging that Arpaio conducted a politicallymotivated investigation into allegations that Saban raped his adoptive mother 30 years ago.
KNXV-TV (Channel 15), which aired the rape allegations in an April 30, 2004, story, also is named in the lawsuit, and so is Rob Koebel, former Channel 15 reporter, and four sheriff’s officials.
"Joe needs to be held accountable," said Saban, who has been the Buckeye police chief since March 30.
Saban, who retired from the Mesa Police Department to run for sheriff, was defeated by Arpaio in the Sept. 7 Republican primary.
The lawsuit accuses the sheriff’s office of leaking a report on the investigation into the rape allegations to Koebel, who confronted Saban about it at a campaign event.
"That was one of the worst weekends in my life," said Saban, adding that he got hate mail, e-mails and calls afterward and had to spend money on lawyers and a private investigator.
Jack MacIntyre, a sheriff’s spokesman, said the sheriff’s office got word of the allegations and acted appropriately by sending investigators to check it out.
Arpaio then turned the investigation over to the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, which closed it after prosecutors said the statute of limitations had run out.
MacIntyre said Saban’s run for sheriff didn’t exclude him from police or media scrutiny.
"That’s not how political campaigns are run and not how the law enforcement system works," MacIntyre said.
Saban’s attorney, Joel Robbins, said Arpaio has a right to "slander and lie" about Saban all he wants in a political campaign, but he stepped over the line by having publicly paid investigators do his political dirty work and then have the fraudulently conducted investigation "bootstrapped" into a news item.
Channel 15 fired Koebel after learning that he donated $100 to Arpaio’s campaign.
Koebel, who didn’t return a message seeking comment, filed suit against his former employer March 28.