The Maricopa County Sheriff’s office, headed by controversial figure Joe Arpaio, has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged the office mishandled the rape of a 13-year-old-girl.
The lawsuit indicated that two weeks after the assault, lab officials requested a blood sample from the suspect whose identity was known to the police. Arpaio’s office failed to respond to the lab’s request and did nothing to investigate the case for three years. During that time, the suspect continued his assaults on the girl. The girl became pregnant from one of the attacks and had an abortion.
The girl’s rape case was among more than 400 sex-crime cases that were inadequately investigated or not looked into at all by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office over a three-year period ending in 2007.
The decision to resolve the lawsuit by the girl’s guardians marks the latest in a long string of legal settlements against Arpaio’s office. The county had previously paid more than $68 million in judgments, settlements and legal fees for the sheriff’s office during Arpaio’s 22-year tenure.
In a Wednesday press conference, Arpaio noted that the settlement was a good business decision since the girl’s family had initially sued for $30 million.
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