Jack MacIntyre was on the phone.
The director of intergovernmental relations for the Maricopa County Sheriff ’s Office said he was concerned about Thursday’s column. "I just think it’s misleading. That’s why I called you," he said.
The column was about five Hall of Shame political candidates who shamelessly were asking residents to vote for them. One of them happened to be MacIntyre’s boss, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
In the original column, I noted that The Most Tactless Sheriff in America constantly reaches new lows.
I pointed out that he recently OK’d a plan that allowed law enforcement officials to get naked and party with suspected prostitutes in the line of duty. Then Arpaio said he was shocked when prosecutors tossed the cases.
"First of all, ‘Getting naked and party’ is really not accurate," MacIntyre told me.
"The longest contact of any kind between one of the undercover officers and one of the prostitutes was about 30 seconds. So, ‘party’ tends to lead the reader to think there was some sort of sexual acts or sexual activity and there was none of that, other than incidental contact," he said.
The reference, of course, was to the rolling party that Arpaio and his naked undercover agents called Operation House Call and Operation Destiny. They arrested 70 people Nov. 13 in dozens of homes and massage parlors in Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Phoenix, Sun City and Goodyear (most of which have their own police departments).
Deputies and sheriff’s posse members were nude and engaged in physical contact with suspected prostitutes, according to records. Specifically, the agents fondled the breasts and genitals of the women and allowed the women to touch their genitals with their hands and mouths.
Incidental contact is what happens inadvertently in a crowded elevator.
"I still disagree with you about a party," MacIntyre said. "You’re wrong. There’s no completed sex acts, not even close."
In June, Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley tossed the majority of the prostitution cases. Prosecutors said agents’ tactics were unacceptable and reduced the likelihood of convictions. They believed that the only oral acts that needed to occur were verbal agreements to exchange money for sex.
MacIntyre correctly pointed out that the suspected customers and four suspected prostitutes were prosecuted before Romley tossed the bulk of the prostitution cases, causing Arpaio such shock. So noted.
Again, just so no one is misled — Arpaio OK’d a plan that allowed agents to get naked and party with suspected prostitutes. Four suspected prostitutes were prosecuted. Got it.
The primary is Sept. 7.