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 Five deputies were notified they would be suspended, but on Monday the suspension orders were rescinded.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.
Saturday, April 12 2014 6:07 AM EDT2014-04-12 10:07:09 GMT
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral. A mother humpback whale and her calf were cruising just offshore when a set rolled in. J.T. Gray of NorthMore >
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-04-17 01:12:17 GMT
Police are searching for the ex-wife of notorious child killer Ward Weaver in connection to a meth dealing investigation. Canby police served a search warrant at the Forest Manor Apartment Complex onMore >
Officers said they have received multiple reports that methamphetamine was being sold by 53-year-old Maria Shaw, also known as Maria Weaver and Maria Stout, in Canby.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:00:28 GMT
A Mount Tabor reservoir that holds Portland's drinking water has been taken offline out of fear that a group of trespassers urinated in it. Five people were seen at Mount Tabor Park around 1 a.m. Wednesday.More >
A Mount Tabor reservoir that holds Portland's drinking water has been taken offline after a teenager urinated in the reservoir. More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:22 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:22:41 GMT
A dead whale that washed ashore on the Oregon coast was buried at the beach Wednesday. The massive 40-foot gray whale first appeared on the south jetty at Fort Stevens State Park Sunday. Word spread quicklyMore >
A dead whale that washed ashore on the Oregon coast was buried at the beach on Wednesday.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-04-16 18:52:38 GMT
Portland's newest bridge now has a name. TriMet announced Wednesday that the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Bridge will be called Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People. A bridge naming committeeMore >
TriMet announced Wednesday that the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Bridge will be called Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:42:32 GMT
A dead, decomposing 40-foot gray whale washed ashore in the Oregon Coast town of Seaside on Tuesday morning, and marine experts advise staying away from the massive carcass because it's "really nasty."KeithMore >
Experts advise keeping your dog on a leash while at the beach in Seaside, mainly because dealing with your pet after it rolls around in a dead whale would be a "horrible way to spend your vacation."More >
Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-04-16 02:46:24 GMT
Police have identified the two people found dead in Portland-area rivers on Monday. The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office River Patrol Unit headed toward Sauvie Island at 1:15 p.m. after getting wordMore >
Police have identified the two people found dead in Portland-area rivers on Monday, both had previously been reported missing.More >
A pair of sex trafficking suspects are accused of ramming into two patrol cars and driving through a fence in Aloha. The situation began before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Police were following a man and a womanMore >
Police were following a man and a woman in a car as part of a sex trafficking investigation. Officers said the suspects had dropped off a 17-year-old girl at a hotel.More >