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Embattled sheriff once ran boarding school, lived with male student

Monday, February 27, 2012
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PHOENIX — Embattled Pinal County, Arizona sheriff Paul Babeu — who came out as gay amid allegations that he threatened to have an ex-boyfriend deported — once ran a Massachusetts boarding school with a history of physical and sexual abuse, and for a time lived with one of the school’s male students.

According to a new report by KNXV-TV, for three years, from 1999 to 2001, Babeu ran The DeSisto School in in Stockbridge, Mass.

Paul Babeu

The school was plagued with controversy, including allegations of that students were forced to wear sheets, sit facing walls for hours, undergo strip searches and take group showers.

KNXV reported that “several students” knew a secret about Babeu, that his sister Lucy Babeu discovered one day after visiting his home that Paul Babeu was living with one of his male students:

“Lucy Babeu told the ABC15 Investigators she confronted her brother after finding a student from DeSisto school living with Babeu.

“I said what is this student from Desisto doing here? He says, ‘Lucy, he’s my boyfriend. I love him’.”

Lucy Babeu told us her brother was having a relationship with the male student.

“I said Paul get a hold of yourself here,” said Lucy. “You were his teacher! You were his Executive Director! You can’t do this.”

KNXV-TV did not identify the former student, but reported that at the time he was 17, the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.

Watch the report here:

The school closed voluntarily in June 2004, three years after Babeu’s tenure, amid accusations of failing to create a safe environment for its students.

Babeu, 43, who is seeking the GOP nomination for an Arizona congressional seat, publicly came out as gay earlier this month, after news broke that he allegedly threatened to deport his former boyfriend, Jose Orozco, who is Hispanic, if their past relationship was made public.

A rising star in the Arizona Republican party, Babeu had also been serving as co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Arizona, a position he resigned at the same time as coming out.

Babeu remains a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s fourth congressional district, says if he’s elected to Congress he’ll support pro-LGBT initiatives and help change perceptions lawmakers have about gay people, reported the Washington Blade.

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