Pat Sullivan, ex-Arapahoe sheriff: Guilty pleas for prostitution, possession
Update: As we noted a short time ago, former Arapahoe County sheriff Pat Sullivan has pleaded guilty to drug possession and soliciting a prostitute -- a felony and a misdemeanor, respectively. Three other charges were dropped. Now, we've got sentencing details from the Colorado Attorney General, and the punishment isn't exactly harsh: thirty days in jail and two years' probation.
The AG's office took over prosecution of Sullivan following an executive order from Governor John Hickenlooper in January -- an effort to prevent any conflict-of-interest allegations from the 18th Judicial District DA's office, which had presumably worked with Sullivan in an official capacity long before allegations that he traded meth for sex.
Sullivan's shocking fall from grace is outlined in our previous coverage. Get details, and see photos and videos, below.
6:33 a.m. December 1, 2011: Disconnects are common in the Pat Sullivan story -- first due to the contrast between his former image as a nationally recognized Arapahoe County sheriff and allegations that he traded meth for sex, and now as a result of his first court appearance, in which the little old man tottering toward the bench with assistance from a cane seemed far too frail to have engaged in the activities for which he's been accused. And the creepy details keep coming.
As we've reported, Sullivan became Arapahoe County sheriff in 1984, and rose to icon status five years later, when TV news cameras caught him rescuing a deputy held hostage by a double murderer. In 1999, his reputation was further enhanced in the wake of the slayings at Columbine High School, leading to his naming as national sheriff of the year. After retiring from his gig in 2002, he became director of safety and security for the Cherry Creek School District -- a position he held for the next six years.
Since then, Sullivan faded from the public eye. But according to a probable cause affidavit on view below, he's been busy lately. On October 4, the document states, Arapahoe County deputies received a call about an "unwanted male party" at a home in Centennial. According to CBS4, the home in question provides shelter for recovering addicts -- and apparently, some of them wanted the man later identified as Sullivan to hit the highway.
Just shy of a month later, on November 13, members of the South Metro Drug Task Force were told by a pair of confidential informants that they would "definitely" be able to obtain meth from Sullivan in exchange for "sexual acts" -- something they said they'd done before. Shortly thereafter, a series of phone calls and text messages led to a planned rendezvous in Aurora.
The affidavit notes that the home was outfitted with audio and video equipment prior to the planned meeting. That gear later recorded Sullivan handing the source a packet that tested positive for meth in the bedroom of the house. Sullivan also had a second bag of meth on his person when cops swooped in and took him into custody.
In the wake of the arrest, a search of Sullivan's home was conducted, with what's described as a large quantity of gay pornography being seized. Meanwhile, Jonathan Elinoff, a producer for embattled KHOW host Tom Martino, provided law enforcement and CBS4 with videotape of an interview conducted with one William Hadley, who said he and Sullivan had shared drugs and more plenty of times in the past.
"I mean we've sat at Cheesman Park in his (Sullivan's) SUV and smoked the fuck out of a lot of dope," Hadley said. He added that he'd masturbated in front of Sullivan at the former sheriff's request -- and he wasn't the only one. A second man interviewed by Elinoff claimed that Sullivan buys addicts drugs "in order for them to take their clothes off. That's the power he has over them, their addiction."
Oh yeah: Current Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson confirms to CBS4 that his office is looking into the possibility that Sullivan is HIV-positive. If that proves to be true, additional charges related to knowingly exposing others to the malady could be forthcoming. Perhaps that's why Sullivan's bond was increased from $250,000 to $500,000. He continues to cool his heels in the Patrick J. Sullivan Detention Facility -- the jail named for him.
Look below to see a CBS4 report and the affidavit, followed by our previous coverage.
Page down for more coverage.
Original post, 6:37 p.m. November 30: Tough to miss the irony: After his arrest for allegedly trying to trade meth for sex with a male acquaintance, Pat Sullivan was incarcerated in the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility, the jail named for him after a distinguished law enforcement career capped by eighteen years as Arapahoe County sheriff. No one expected Sullivan to make such an ignominious return to the public eye -- not even the law enforcers who put him behind bars.
As noted by the Denver Post, Sullivan became an undersheriff in Arapahoe County way back in 1983, rising to the top job a year later. In 1989, he cemented his image as a man still willing to mix it up with the bad guys when he personally rescued a deputy trapped in a hostage situation involving Eugene Thompson, who'd murdered two women -- one of them his mother-in-law. The image of Sullivan squealing away from the scene as an ambulance waited to care for his colleague was indelible.
Ten years later, the attack on Columbine High School took place, and while the facility isn't in Arapahoe County, Sullivan played a major role in the subsequent investigation, emerging with his reputation further enhanced. No wonder that when the onetime national sheriff of the year retired from his post in 2002, he was quickly snapped up by the Cherry Creek School District, which made him director of safety and security -- a position he held for the next six years.
Since 2008, Sullivan, who's 68, has mostly been out of the public eye. But on November 17, according to the sheriff's department, "several individuals presented credible information that provided probable cause to believe that Sullivan may be involved in the distribution and use of methamphetamine."
The inquiry that followed culminated yesterday at about 4:15 p.m., when Sullivan was taken into custody after allegedly attempting to trade meth for sex with what's described as a "male acquaintance."
Current Sheriff Grayson Robinson offered the following comment about this bizarre turn of events: "The allegations of criminal behavior involving Pat Sullivan are extraordinarily disturbing... While the arrest of the former sheriff is very troubling, the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office continues to ensure that those who are responsible for criminal behavior and the victimization of our community will be held accountable by the criminal justice system. No one, and particularly a current or a former peace officer, is above the law. The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has always demonstrated a solid commitment to our community and to public safety. This is a very sad time for the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and our community."
At a news conference yesterday, Robinson didn't add much to these comments. However, he did reveal that Sullivan has bonded several people out of several area detention centers over time. He added that this fact is part of the ongoing investigation.
Was Sullivan freeing men from jail that he hoped would become sex partners? That was the implication this morning on Peter Boyles's KHOW talk show. Two people identifying themselves as investigatory sources -- including a man who called himself Mark and said he was featured in "Head Games," a 2006 Alan Prendergast Westword cover story about mental illness among prisoners -- shared a series of incendiary claims. Sample some of them by listening to the 5 a.m. hour, accessible by clicking here.
No doubt we'll be hearing more assertions like these at 8 a.m., when embattled KHOW host Tom Martino and two investigators also working on the story are slated to appear with Boyles. Clearly, Sullivan, who was jailed on a whopping $250,000 bond, is back in the spotlight, and shockingly so.
Look below to see a pair of 9News reports -- the first focusing on the arrest, the second dating back to Sullivan's 2002 retirement as sheriff.
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More from our News archive: "Robert McIntosh wins $20,000 settlement after arrest for calling Boulder deputy a 'f*cking ass.'"
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