While saying for the first time publicly that he is gay, rising Republican star Sheriff Paul Babeu used a dramatic news conference on Saturday in Arizona to angrily deny allegations that had been leveled against him by an ex-boyfriend in a newspaper report a day earlier.
“I’m here to say that all these allegations that were in one of these newspapers are absolutely, completely false,” the sheriff said while while surrounded by a number of his deputies and fellow elected officials. “Except for the issues that refer to me as being gay. Because that’s the truth. I am gay.”
The well-known border hawk and Congressional candidate was hit late Friday with accusations from a Mexican immigrant who said he dated the sheriff for years and was threatened with deportation if he ever told anyone about their romance.
The accusations were first reported by the Phoenix New Times newspaper and came complete with text messages reported to be from the sheriff and compromising photos of him.
At the news conference, Babeu, who is single with no children, confirmed he had a romantic relationship with the man, who has so far only been identified as “Jose.” However he denied Jose’s claims that threats had followed their breakup.
“At no time did I or anyone who represents me ever threaten deportation. Ever,” Babeu said, adding that he had no reason to believe Jose was in the country illegally. “Everything that I understand is that he’s in legal status here.”
The sheriff emphasized that he doesn’t have the authority to deport anyone and that he would never use the power of his office to intervene in a personal matter.
However, Babeu also accused his former lover of hacking into his campaign website and social media accounts and posting messages without his consent, actions that Babeu referred to as criminal. Beyond just a romantic relationship, the man had been a volunteer on the sheriff’s campaign, maintaining its website and social media accounts. That was also supposed to end when the relationship went sour, but Babeu said Jose kept accessing the accounts.
“There were legitimate crimes that were committed,” Babeu said. However, he added he had no plans to take legal actions against Jose.....................................