Sheriff Paul Babeu confirms he's gay, denies other allegations
Web Producer: Marissa Pasquet
FLORENCE, Ariz.(ABC15/ KGUN9-TV) - Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu announced during a Saturday news conference in Florence that he is gay.
The announcement came as he denied allegations that he threatened an ex-lover with deportation as reported by the Phoenix New Times .
Babeu said he had a personal relationship with a man named Jose who separately volunteered to work on Babeu's website, social media sites and financial transactional system.
Babeu said when others came on board in paid positions Jose took control of the website and published uncomplimentary comments.
A cease and desist order was issued against Jose, who responded with a letter and returned control of the website to Babeu.
Jose reportedly told the Phoenix New Times that Babeu threatened to deport him if he ever talked about their relationship.
Babeu said, "It's blatantly, completely false."
"I never believed he was less legal than I or you are," he said.
Babeu said people have asked him about being gay saying it was none of their business but now it's out there for all to see.
He said the measure of who he is is how he was handling the issue today by taking for responsibility for all the issues out there at the moment.
"It's almost as if there's a relief today, almost to not be threatened," Babeu said.
The Phoenix New Times is reporting Jose said he met Babeu in October 2006 on gay.com , a dating website.
Jose reportedly told the Phoenix New Times the relationship started as personal and turned also into a business one.
Jose reportedly created and maintained Babeu's campaign websites, his Facebook page, and his Twitter account, without pay.
Sheriff Babeu is held a press conference Saturday. KGUN9 News will bring you all the details on KGUN9 News 5:00 p.m.