Pinal County (Arizona) Sheriff Paul Babeu was the victim of sexual assault as a young boy in Massachusetts, an ongoing incident that forever changed the outspoken critic of Arizona’s immigration policies, he told MyFoxPhoenix.com.
“I was a victim of sexual assault when I was a young boy, actually by a priest back in Massachusetts,” Babeu told the website. “That was something that had a dramatic impact on me and my life.”
Babeu said the abuse began at age 11 and continued for several years. He reported the abuse, which altered his views of people in positions of power.
“By somebody who is trusted and revered, someone of God, and then having leaders within the church cover it up and lie about it really awakened my sense of the world and what’s right and what’s wrong and how some people in positions of great trust and great honor can do bad things,” Babeu told Fox.
Babeu, who served as an officer in Iraq with the Arizona Army National Guard prior to becoming Pinal County’s top lawman, said the experience shaped his leadership style. Babeu said he tries to use his experience with sexual abuse as a “motivating force” to better the world.