Sheriff Paul Babeu repeatedly denied any knowledge or awareness of the mistreatment of students at a controversial Massachusetts therapeutic boarding school.
The Sheriff and Congressional Candidate also publicly threatened to sue after a 2012 ABC15 report exposed troubling details about his time working as the DeSisto School’s headmaster and executive director.
Babeu never agreed to sit-down interview requests to discuss his time at the school. But in an impromptu interview with reporters two weeks after the story first broadcast, Babeu called the report “blatantly false” and a “reckless disregard for the truth.”
SEE THE 2012 INTERVIEW IN THE VIDEO ABOVE
When pressed about how he couldn’t have known about a Massachusetts’ Child Care Services lawsuit and investigation that began at the school during his tenure, Babeu responded, “You don’t even know what you’re talking about.”
Babeu also had his attorney send letters demanding retractions and clarifications.
In a letter written by one of Babeu’s attorneys, it said, “Not only has ABC15 refused to retract or clarify its errant reporting, it has accelerated its baseless attacks against the Sheriff by errantly reporting that he was involved in, responsible for, and/or aware of the mistreatment of students during his employment with the DeSisto School in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.”
The letter immediately continued, “These allegations are false.”
READ THE LETTER
After the story, Babeu’s attorney also tried to downplay his role at DeSisto, saying he was one of four managers who ran the school and was a special assistant to the Executive Director Michael DeSisto.
“As headmaster, the Sheriff was responsible only for operations such as the kitchen, housekeeping, facility and grounds maintenance, office support staff and admissions. The Sheriff never taught class, was not responsible for the 5-6 full time therapists employed by the school and was not responsible for the actions of the teaching staff, or discipline,” according to the letter.
But the letter didn’t mention other duties that Babeu wrote he had at the school on his application to become an officer with the Chandler Police Department.
SEE BABEU’S CHANDLER POLICE APPLICATION
The application was dated Dec. 17, 2002 – one year after he quit working at the school.
In the application’s prior employment section, Babeu listed himself as “Headmaster/Exec. Director” from April 1999 to August 2001.
He wrote the following description of his major duties: “Supervised directors and 80 full-time employees. Responsible for budget preparations, financial accountability, legal issues, long-range planning and fundraising. Restructured debt, implemented fiscal controls, infrastructure improvements and raised substantial private contributions.
During the time Babeu wrote he was in charge of “legal issues,” one critical case was launched by the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services.
In May 2000, the state filed an Order to Show Cause, claiming that the school was improperly operating without a license and outside of state regulations. It also came after “repeated efforts by (the state) to resolve the matter without litigation,” records show.
The state’s case and investigation uncovered widespread abuse at the school.