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Could arrest of former MCSO sex crimes investigator become a political liability in sheriff's race?

Posted at 7:15 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 22:15:43-04

PHOENIX — Former MCSO sex crimes detective Christopher Butts was charged with multiple counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation Wednesday.

It is the second time since March that Butts has been charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation. During Butts’ time with MCSO he was married to then niece of Chief Deputy Sheriff and now candidate for Sheriff, Jerry Sheridan. “I kept my distance from him knowing he was married to my niece.”

“Was it a lie, yeah it was a lie.” In 2014, Butts admitted to Internal Affairs investigators he lied on his time card, potentially a criminal offense. He resigned. The final straw was after a series of disciplinary actions covering four years. It also coincided with Butts' transfer from deputy to detective.

“Everybody that he worked for knew that I was the chief deputy,” Sheridan said. “So if he got preferential treatment, which I am not sure he did, because he was disciplined for different policy violations along the way, it was because someone else handled that discipline.”

Sheridan said he had no role in Butts joining the Sheriff’s Office or in offering him any career advice.

The question now is whether Butts’ arrest will become a political liability for Sheridan as he faces off against incumbent Sheriff Paul Penzone. “

I know how these things work, look what happened here, we’re talking about this six years after he was terminated.”

The Penzone campaign had no comment on Christopher Butts’ arrest. He remains in jail until he can post a $150,000 bond.