The story about Sheriff Paul Babeu in Thursday's Phoenix New Times is sensational and lurid. Some would consider it tabloid journalism. Frankly, it is an account of rumors that have been swirling for months.
Since Sheriff Babeu has declared as a candidate for for Congressional District 4, it is, unfortunately, relevant to our community. Whether it is relevant to Babeu's ability to represent this district is something for the voters to decide.
We've chosen not to repeat the allegations, the link is provided above if readers want to examine the article for themselves.
However, in that Phoenix New Times article, there is mention of a comment that was left on one of the eNewsAZ networked websites. When that comment, dated January 7, 2012, was posted, it was immediately deleted by the eNewsAZ editorial staff due to the nature of the content.
At the time, we asked Chris DeRose, Babeu's campaign manager, about the comment, and he responded that Babeu had a sister with a mental illness who was posting comments like this on various websites. We had already deleted the comment, so we pursued it no further.
DeRose provided a statement in rsponse to the Phoenix New Times article, which reads as follows:
"At 2:30 pm today, the Phoenix New Times contacted the Paul Babeu for Congress campaign via email asking for a response to a long series of allegations for a story they had been working on for two months from an anonymous source.
"The allegations referred to an incident that occurred on September 6, 2011, when the campaign’s website, Twitter account, and online financial transaction system were illegally hacked. A cease and desist letter was sent to the suspected perpetrator who promptly returned access to the campaign. This individual was asked to sign an agreement refraining from similar activity in the future, but at no time were any threats made. At that time, the individual’s attorney assured the campaign that he was not interested in causing further trouble, which was accepted as true.
"We strongly deny the sensationalist headline published by the Phoenix New Times.
"Please see the attached documents for a copy of the cease and desist letter, as well as the response from the perpetrator, for more details on this incident."
Here is the Cease and Desist letter
Here is the Response from the Perpetrator