Reporter talks about Pinal County Sheriff's threats toward former gay lover

PHOENIX - A scandal involving a former gay lover has Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu facing some tough questions after it was published in a news article.

ABC15 spoke to the author from the Phoenix New Times who broke the story that has the whole country talking.

Monica Alonzo wrote the story based on an interview she had with Sheriff Babeu's admitted ex-boyfriend.

Alonzo's story claims Babeu threatened to deport his Mexican ex-boyfriend, Jose, if he told people about their relationship.

After two days of Sheriff Babeu holding news conferences and going on the defensive, Alonzo said she's concerned the Sheriff is "shifting the focus of the story" toward his sexuality, and away from what she said is the real issue; the threats Babeu is accused of making toward Jose.

"The fact that he's gay has nothing to do with this story," Alonzo said. "It could have been a Mexican woman he was involved in a relationship with who he threatened with the idea of deportation once the relationship soured. It would not matter."

Alonzo said Jose was scared for his safety and that of his family's after he broke up with Babeu and the threats started coming.

With Babeu running for Congress, Jose told the New Times he felt the sheriff would make good on his threats.

Alonzo said the scandal was all documented through text messages, emails, and even nude and explicit photos Sheriff Babeu sent to Jose.

"This really shows what kind of a risk taker the sheriff is, and the public needs to know those things," Alonzo said. "Just how far he is willing to go?"

Babeu has not denied the photos, or texts, but he said he never threatened anyone.

At a news conference Saturday, Babeu formally announced he is gay.

Alonzo said she now hopes the proper authorities will investigate the abuse of power allegations against the sheriff.

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