Maricopa County settles for $3M in botched rape case

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is paying out millions because of a botched investigation into the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

The case wasn't properly investigated, and it allowed the suspect to go free and attack the young girl again.

The victim's lawyer said the case went uninvestigated for five years. During that time, her abuser continued to rape her.

It's abuse that lawyers say happened because the MCSO failed to act.

The teen lived in Mesa and was raped in 2007 according to court records. The records show MCSO had the evidence, but did not make an arrest until five years later.

"That slipped through the cracks, we did due diligence after the fact that we found out, and we acted on it," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The case remained inactive, while Patrick Morrison remained free and during that time he continued to molest the victim. In 2009, she became pregnant.

The victim has a disability, and a court filing says because of obvious limitations the fetus was aborted.

The victim's lawyers say it could have all been avoided if deputies had arrested the abuser.

"It's unconscionable that a mentally challenged girl be raped for four years… and law enforcement failed to act," said Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo.

Gallardo is upset that the MCSO has cost the county millions

This case has now resulted in a $3.5 million settlement from the county. Sheriff Joe Arpaio called a press conference, not to answer questions about the lawsuit, but he was asked about it anyway.

"We don't like any money paid out, but when you have the jurisdiction of a large, large law enforcement agency, sometimes that happens," said Arpaio.

"The Sheriff needs to step up," said Gallardo.

The Sheriff offered no apology for the botched rape case; Steve Gallardo says he should.

"(Gallardo) always been blasting me for the last five years, you don't think he'll say ‘thank you Sheriff for rescuing all the animals,' or ‘Sheriff we feel sorry for your detectives,'" said Arpaio.

Morrison is now serving a 24 year sentence in prison. 

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