McClellan: Report on MCSO sex crimes cases proves the system is broken - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

McClellan: Report on MCSO sex crimes cases proves the system is broken

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Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 8:03 am | Updated: 5:27 pm, Tue Jun 18, 2013.

It was the system.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office recently released a 10,000 page report on its horribly botched, horribly run, Special Victims Unit.

A complete and total mess.

And who’s at fault for this fiasco, one that left rapes uninvestigated, one that left, at least in one case, rapists to rape again?

The “system.”

No, not any specific MCSO official, no detective, not the Sheriff, of course.

The system.

It was a systemic failure, not a failure of individuals. Says the MCSO investigator Brian Sands, “This systematic problem could not then, and cannot now, be properly addressed or corrected by disciplining a few individuals.”

One news report noted, “Sands wrote that officers fell short in their duties because they were assigned an overwhelming volume of complex, time-consuming cases to investigate. The squad had too few detectives, and budget restrictions limited overtime hours.”

So the system failed, eh? But the report contradicts itself.

The released documents, for example, identify specific detectives who deep-sixed sex crime investigations, one even taking evidence boxes home with him, storing them in his garage.

Who in the “system” repeatedly ignored pleas from SVU supervisors asking for more personnel, with the existing detectives overwhelmed by their caseloads?

Who knows? The report doesn’t identify who ignored the repeated requests.

And who in the “system” was responsible for diverting almost $600,000 provided by the County Board of Supervisors, money earmarked for six more detectives in the SVU? And where did that money go? Did the “system” just swallow it up?

Who knows? The report cannot account for either where that money actually went or who made the decision to divert it elsewhere?

And who in “the system” diverted resources and personnel from the SVU to animal-abuse crimes? And why did MCSO place so much emphasis on crimes against animals but ignored rapes?

Who knows? The report doesn’t explain.

And in the “system” diverted resources and personnel from the SVU to the illegal immigrant “crime suppression sweeps” so popular within the MCSO?

Who knows? The report doesn’t explain.

Nope, no single individual within the MCSO bears any responsibility for the fiasco.

Well, one does, but he’s long gone. Arpaio henchman/Chief Deputy David Hendershott is named occasionally in the report.

I believe that is called “a fall guy.”

But if the Buck Stops Here, at the top, isn’t Sheriff Joe Arpaio ultimately responsible for the fiasco? I’ll leave it to you to answer that question.

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