The sad, weird and increasingly shocking case involving former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick J. Sullivan -- whose name adorns the jail there -- has dominated the headlines this week. And it's likely to get even more bizarre. Essentially, the story is this: Sullivan, 68, a well-respected lifelong lawman and onetime National Sheriff of the Year, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with trading methamphetamine to an Aurora man in return for sex.
Current Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, who served under Sullivan, told reporters that it appears Sullivan may have done the same before with other men -- men he bonded out of jail.
But that's just the beginning, as some of the people involved in the case have said Sullivan may have been smoking meth himself and trying to get recovering addicts to try it. One of the men who was involved with Sullivan was found dead earlier this year.
By all accounts, the stories have shocked Sullivan's family and colleagues (Sullivan retired from the department in 2002 and served as director of security for Cherry Creek Schools until 2008), including the men and women who are now prosecuting him.
It's particularly creepy when you look at the photos of the silver-haired sheriff looking official in old pictures compared to his pasty white skin in an orange jumpsuit, walking with a cane in the same courthouse where he likely helped convict many criminals.
But the fact that Sullivan is old and decrepit looking doesn't change the fact that anyone who preys on the vulnerable -- turning their back on their life's work -- is a slimebag.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.