Phoenix, AZ — A Pinal County Corrections Officer will likely share a jail cell with the very child molesters he was tasked with guarding after getting arrested for possessing and distributing child pornography. Rick Vasquez has worked as a corrections officer since 2003 in Pinal County but was placed on paid administrative leave last week following his arrest.
Phoenix police say Vasquez was targeted by the Internet Crimes Against Children task force after uploading and sharing child pornography depicting children as young as toddlers. Vasquez used multiple social media apps and shared at least three images. Once the task force linked his social media account to his person, Vasquez was arrested.
He was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and dangerous crimes against children. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb made the following announcement after Vasquez was arrested:
Unfortunately, I have to share some tough news with you today...One of our employees was arrested by another agency. I cannot get into the details of the case because there is more investigation. However, it involved internet crimes. I just wanted to let you know that we are cooperating with that agency. That employee has been placed on admin leave pending the investigation. As your sheriff I just want you to hear it from me first.
Last year, another officer in Pinal County, a sergeant in Superior, AZ Anthony Doran was fired after homemade pornography as well as nude photos of his own daughter were found on his computer. All of the pornography and photos of his naked offspring were found in a file labeled “Good Times”. Instead of being charged with child pornography, He was fired for having sex in his office while on duty and filming it, keeping it on a jump drive attached to his computer.
According to AZ Central, Doran’s Crimes go way back. In fact, Doran was what TFTP calls a “Gypsy Cop”, a bad cop who jumps from department to department, never really answering for the crimes he committed while on duty. They write:
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In 2013, the Pima County Sheriff’s Office terminated Doran for fondling a woman in his patrol car while on duty, then trying to delete explicit evidence of the tryst from his cellphone.
At this point in the investigation it is unclear if Vasquez, too, has a similar past with respect to child pornography. Where there warning signs? Does he have any real-life victims or are all his victims those being exploited around the world for money.
Child abuse in Pinal County allegedly goes all the way up to the highest levels of law enforcement. Former Pinal County Sheriff and one-time congressional candidate Paul Babeu was outed by his sister for having once bragged about abusing children at a school for students with disabilities. Babeu served as Headmaster and Executive Director at DeSisto a Massachusetts boarding school he ran from 1999 to 2001.
Prosecutors say Babeu obstructed justice into the abuses as well. Congresswoman Katherine Clark remarked of Babeu’s alleged abuses and correlated his then position as Sheriff of Pinal County, Vasquez’ boss at the time. Clark said:
It was really just a cesspool of really horrendous practices towards children...I think it’s rather appalling to think that he is overseeing people with badges and guns, and that he thinks he is fit to run for Congress.
We at TFTP couldn’t agree more. In fact, one can clearly see if the head of the Sheriff’s department can brazenly brag about abusing kids, it’s no wonder officers in his rank and file would end up following his now infamous example. We predict there will be more charges forthcoming as Vasquez’ investigation continues. More bad apples from the bad tree are going to fall.