An embattled Arizona sheriff who earlier denied he threatened to deport his ex-lover to Mexico is fending off new allegations – this time from his sister, who claims he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student from a Massachusetts boarding school he once ran.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeau, who is running for Congress in Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, denies the allegations made by Lucy Babeau, and his camp is questioning her mental stability.
In a story broadcast Sunday, Lucy Babeau told ABC15 that her brother had an inappropriate relationship with a male student at the DeSisto School, a private boarding school for troubled teens in Stockbridge, Mass., while Paul Babeau directed the school. Babeau was executive director and headmaster of DeSisto from 1999 to 2001.
Lucy Babeu told the ABC15 she confronted her brother after finding a teen student from the school living with him.
“I said, ‘What is this student from DeSisto doing here?’ He says, ‘Lucy, he’s my boyfriend. I love him.'” At the time, the student was 17, which is above the legal age of consent in Massachusetts, according to ABC15.
The story also said physical and sexual abuse occurred at the school under Babeau’s stewardship. The TV station cited former students and state records as saying the school used controversial disciplinary methods, including forcing misbehaving students to strip down and wear nothing but a sheet or to sit facing the wall for hours.
Babeu declined an on-camera interview, but his spokesman sent ABC15 this statement:
“DeSisto Private School’s mission was to save troubled, yet talented youth in a therapeutic environment. The Sheriff served three years and was recognized for helping restore financial stability of the school. He was never the target of any investigation or lawsuit. Sheriff Babeu is a recognized leader for Victim’s Rights.”
On Tuesday, Babeau’s campaign launched a counterattack against his sister. The Rose Law Group, which has supported Babeau, put out a two-page dossier detailing what it said was Lucy Babeau’s medical history and alleged behavioral problems, The Arizona Star reported. It also distributed a letter from the former teen at DeSoto. In it, he denies having had “any inappropriate sexual relationship” with Babeau.
Lucy Babeau, reached at her home in North Adams, Mass., called the dossier “slanderous” and said several portions were false.
Sheriff Babeau, known for his tough stance against illegal immigration, made national headlines in mid-February after the Phoenix New Times published an article in which a man claimed the sheriff threatened him with deportation for refusing to promise never to disclose their years-long relationship.
Babeau held a press conference and acknowledged he is gay but denied the allegations of misconduct against him. Babeau also resigned as Arizona co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s GOP presidential campaign.