I thought the nativists who populate the Republican Party in Arizona would at least have enough sense and basic decency to just run away from Chris Simcox after his arrest on child-molestation charges. I was wrong.
And even though this story is a week and a half old already (I missed it while off in the wilderness), if your outrage-o-meter hasn't hit at least a 9 recently, well, just digest the latest news in Simcox's ongoing drama, courtesy of Stephen Lemons of Phoenix New Times. Mine's at 11:
At a pretrial conference Wednesday before Commissioner Virginia Richter, deputy county attorney Yigael Cohen signaled that the Maricopa County Attorney's Office will be offering a plea deal in the case of former minuteman leader Chris Simcox.
Simcox, 52, was arrested June 19, and is currently being held nonbondable on six felony counts related to child molestation and sexual conduct with minors under the age of 10.
Initially, the allegations involved three kindergarten-aged girls, one of them his own daughter. (Simcox was a kindergarten teacher in Los Angeles, before his move to Arizona.)
Since his arrest, the prosecution has dropped one victim -- a little girl Simcox allegedly bribed with candy to show him her underwear. Now, the other two victims in the case, each of whom say they were molested by Simcox, may be denied the justice they deserve.
The prosecutor did not describe the plea offer to the court. In fact, he said he still had to write it up for review by the defense.
And, significantly, at the mention of a plea deal, Simcox, who was standing in the jury box in stripes and shackles, shook his head, as if to reject the offer out of hand.
One of the victims' parents, at least, appears shaken and outraged:
After the hearing, outside the courtroom, I saw the prosecutor speaking with Michelle Lynch, the mother of one of Simcox's victims.
Lynch was in tears and very upset. I overheard what the prosecutor had to say to her.
"I will let your views be known," he said at one point before rushing off. "It's not set in stone."
Lynch declined comment for this report.
Whatever the plea offer is, based on Lynch's reaction to it, we can assume it is not good for the victims.
And why, we might ask, would the Maricopa County DA be interested in letting off a notorious hatemonger who appears to have forced little girls to watch porn films and to be molested as they took showers with him?
An irony of Simcox's current situation is that his minuteman movement was once supported by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
Both the website for Simcox's now-defunct Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and the morgue of the Tucson Citizen newspaper indicate that Montgomery participated in an "Arizona Operation Block Watch Kick-Off Rally" in 2006, when he was running as the Republican nominee for state Attorney General.
One of the photos on MCDC's site shows Montgomery speaking at the event. Other speakers included Simcox, GOP congressional candidate Randy Graf, Michelle Dallacroce from Mothers Against Illegal Aliens, and someone from the national nativist organization Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Montgomery may have gone on minuteman patrols, as well.
Go read it all. I love the part about how one of Montgomery's chief benefactors is none other than Simcox's recent employer.
Of course, it's also worth remembering that this is the county run by Montgomery's friend and ally Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- whose mishandling of sex crimes cases is already legendary. It's obvious he has a partner in that component of his broad misfeasance of his duties.
There's a special kind of corruption in Arizona, enabled and fueled by hardnosed partisan hatred. It remains that state's real and lasting stain.
Cross-posted at Orcinus.