PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone spoke publicly Monday about video that shows possible abuse at a Southwest Key facility and how the sheriff's office handled the investigation. Watch the full video in the player below.
Videos first obtained obtained by the Arizona Republic show some of the incidents, which led to the closure of two Southwest Key facilities in Arizona in 2018.
The videos, which were obtained through a public records request, show staffers being rough with children, including pushing and shoving them, at the Hacienda Del Sol facility in Youngtown in September.
Penzone says this case was inadvertently marked as fully investigated, which delayed the time it took until he was made aware, and a full investigation began. The error was noticed by a supervisor and the investigation continued.
Penzone said the first time he saw the videos was when they were reported on by the Republic and other news organizations.
Penzone says because of this incident, two new positions will be created in his department that are focused solely on crimes against children. The "auditor" positions, as Penzone stated, will be focused on making sure every crime against a child is fully investigated.
The sheriff's office also says the case has been forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for review. Penzone said that review was ongoing as of Monday.
Stay with ABC15 and ABC15.com for the latest on this developing situation.