Who made the cut in our 2011 Hall of Shame
Patrick J. Sullivan
Some men take up golf when they retire. Others collect model trains or travel the world. Patrick J. Sullivan, the well-respected, longtime Arapahoe County sheriff, apparently chose another hobby: buying meth and smoking it with men whom he'd bonded out of jail in return for sex. In November, Sullivan, a national Sheriff of the Year who'd left the department in 2002, was arrested by current Arapahoe County sheriff's deputies and charged with distribution of a controlled substance and solicitation of prostitution. He was then booked into the detention facility that bears his own name (though probably not for long). The arrest shocked Sullivan's family, friends and colleagues, including the Cherry Creek School District, where Sullivan worked as director of security from 2002 to 2008. Since then, the bizarre case has gotten even stranger. News outlets have interviewed several people who say they smoked meth with Sullivan or saw him engaging in sex acts; it was also reported that Sullivan had recommended a 27-year-old former adult-film actor and bathhouse worker for a job with the school district. In fact, Sullivan bailed that man, Sean Moss, out of jail in January. Twelve days later, Moss was found dead in the South Platte River; an autopsy report showed there was meth in his system.
What kind of man climbs into a shit-filled porta-potty at a yoga festival and lowers himself into the tank below just so he can watch women pull their pants down and poop on him? A man like Luke Chrisco. In fact, it was a regular pastime. The thirty-year-old Chrisco was arrested in June, a couple of days after several people reported that there was a man hiding inside the portable toilet at the Hanuman Yoga Festival in Boulder; they told police that the shit-stained fellow ran off after he was detected. Chrisco was eventually charged with eight counts of second-degree burglary and two counts of unlawful sexual contact — and he is representing himself in court, possibly because no one wants to vouch for a feces-flecked peeper. Or even get near him. Chrisco, who told a news outlet that he believes women are goddesses, also admitted to police that he had hidden in other bathrooms in Boulder, including at Naropa University and the University of Colorado, so that he could be number one with women going number two.
The 1 Percent
They could be your friends or your family, people you've known for years or folks you just recently met. They could be sitting next to you at the movie theater or cutting you off in traffic. They are certainly your bankers, and they might just be your employer, as well. They are the 1 percent, and everyone else (which means the 99 percent) may or may not be mad at them. The people who camped out in tents in New York and Oakland and Philadelphia and on the sidewalks around Denver's Civic Center Park as part of the Occupy movement certainly are. Just take a look at the messages on their cardboard signs, bashing the downtrodden rich and much-maligned wealthy. But as winter sets in, the chilly 99 percenters may have to find indoor couches to crash on and space heaters to plug in, while the 1 percent laugh their evil-villain laughs — and luxuriate in mansions where the temperature is set to 75 degrees.
Unassuming, orange and typically sweet, the Colorado cantaloupe turned sour this year when it was fingered as the culprit responsible for thirty deaths, eight of them in Colorado. All told, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proclaimed, 146 people in 28 states were sickened by listeria found in cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in Holly. As a result, the melon, a crop that has long been one of Colorado's most proud, was tossed off shelves and out of kitchens nationwide — regardless of what farm it came from, which bruised the balance sheets of farmers growing cantaloupes a hundred miles away in Rocky Ford. Federal authorities are now weighing whether to criminally prosecute the owners of Jensen Farms, while the families of those who died are already filing lawsuits. And although it's illegal to libel a fruit in Colorado (seriously), there isn't much the Rocky Ford growers can do besides eat their losses.
If all you need to know you learned in kindergarten, then let's hope your kids don't get their education in the Greeley-Evans School District. Because if they do, here's what they might learn from school-board member Brett Reese: Guns should be carried at school; Martin Luther King was a whore-mongering commie; liquor is the way to handle your problems; threatening and bullying people who don't like you is appropriate, and so is making sexually suggestive comments. Call them the golden rules — with a twist. In May, Reese was censured by his fellow boardmembers after they accused him of both showing up to a meeting while under the influence and inappropriately touching a teacher and making sexually suggestive comments to her. But that was just the most recent in a string of problems that landed Reese in a dunce cap several times in 2011. In January, he repeatedly read a manifesto on his FM radio station that branded MLK as a sexual degenerate, a Communist and "a modern-day" plastic god. Reese later promised to carry his gun to school-board meetings to protect himself against people who disagreed with his take on the civil rights hero; the school board passed a rule forbidding that. He was also accused of threatening a rival radio broadcaster, which landed him in hot water with local law enforcement. Reese has denied or defended himself against most of the allegations, but he still gets an F in this class.
There's nothing wrong with a little kinky sex between consenting adults, even if it involves, um, diapers. But people come unpinned when someone's sexual fetish spills over those boundaries and affects non-consenting adults or children. In July, Jesse "Pampers" Hodgson, a former Mountain View Fire Rescue firefighter, told a judge that he'd let his fetish for wearing diapers take over his life. Hodgson, 37, had been arrested months earlier and accused of sexually assaulting a drunken female while he was wearing an adult diaper, as well as exposing himself to a child, along with several other inappropriate diaper-related actions. He eventually pleaded guilty to felony attempted sexual assault, misdemeanor sexual contact and indecent exposure and was sentenced to eighteen months of work release and eight years of supervised probation — something that will hopefully allow him to earn his big-boy underpants.
Michael Gilliland, the high-flying founder of Wild Oats in Boulder and the Sunflower Farmers Market chain, was grounded in February when he was arrested in Phoenix and charged with trying to hook up with an underage prostitute. According to police, the 53-year-old Gilliland offered to pay $100 to have sex with a seventeen-year-old girl he'd met online; she even asked him to bring cigarettes to the motel, saying she was only seventeen and not old enough to buy them. When he showed up, however, Gilliland discovered that the girl was an undercover cop. He resigned as CEO of Sunflower, and not just because the market — famous for its healthy-lifestyle products — doesn't carry smokes. A trial is set for January.
It doesn't get much worse than the story of Lisa Norton. In June, the 32-year-old Boulder woman went on a bender just two days after being sentenced in a previous DUI case to probation and alcohol monitoring. This time, however, things turned out much worse. Norton was driving a pickup truck on Nelson Road near Longmont when she lost control, according to police reports, and smashed into another car, killing 33-year-old Gabriel Nielsen and seriously injuring his sister and his two-year-old daughter. But the story doesn't end there. After the crash, Norton reportedly got out of her truck and jumped into the Clover Basin Reservoir, where she tried to swim away from police. Some boaters thwarted the attempt, however, pulling her out and turning her over to the cops. Norton was later charged with first-degree murder, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and other offenses. She pleaded not guilty in December and is scheduled to face trial in May.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.