Crime

Pat Sullivan, disgraced sheriff, could get 12-18 months after probation violations for meth

Back in 2011, former Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan fell from grace in a startling way after he was accused of trading meth for sex. In 2012, he received a 38-day wrist-slap of a sentence, but he subsequently violated his parole.

Now, he's done it again, in a very big way, and with more than a little help from meth, to which he retains an apparent fondness. After a hearing today, he could be facing twelve-to-eighteen months behind bars.

As we've reported, 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.

After leaving the Cherry Creek job, Sullivan faded from public view -- but he returned in a big way on November 17, 2011, when the sheriff's department announced that "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 when Sullivan was taken into custody after allegedly attempting to trade meth for sex with what was described as a "male acquaintance."

Then-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."

The next year, Sullivan pleaded guilty to drug possession and soliciting a prostitute -- a felony and a misdemeanor, respectively. Three other charges were dropped, with the court agreeing to put Sullivan behind bars for a month or so and also hitting him with two years' worth of probation. (See editor's note below.)

The following August brought evidence that Sullivan hadn't exactly been walking the straight and narrow after completing his term in stir. A so-called "Special Report" by Sullivan's probation officer, Hallie Miller, maintained that "the probation department has become aware of behaviors of the defendant that are concerning."

Continue for more about former sheriff Pat Sullivan's parole violation, including a video, documents and more.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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