Democratic Pima County Sheriff Accused Of Delaying Deputy’s Sexual Assault Investigation

September 15, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

A Pima County sheriff is accused of delaying an investigation into an alleged sexual assault of a female deputy, prompting community outcry. 

Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos reportedly put the investigation into the incident “on hold.” 

A female deputy accused her supervisor, Ricardo Garcia, of sexual assault following a party at his residence last December. A hospital rape kit confirmed the presence of Garcia’s DNA on the victim. Garcia was arrested in January and subsequently fired.

Last month, the deputy filed a $900,000 claim against Garcia and Pima County. The deputy filed a formal complaint alleging that her chain of command were aware of her being sexually assaulted that December night, and refused to intervene for over 80 minutes.

“Defendants and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department conducted themselves in a manner, in their individual or official capacities that clearly violated the established rights of the deputy,” stated the claim. “Their actions caused and/or contributed to serious ongoing, and likely permanent injuries sustained by the deputy that resulted in her assault and rape, and the mismanagement of the following investigation.”

The Pima County Deputy’s Organization (PCDO) issued a statement expressing outrage at Nano’s actions.

“Sheriff Nanos failed to launch his own investigation in the months that followed to determine why her Lieutenant, Captain, and Chief allowed her to continue to be assaulted,” stated PCDO. “Her Lieutenant even responded to the location and stood outside, doing nothing, while she was assaulted inside for over an hour.” 

PCDO added that the suspect and the chief, Joseph Cameron, were “well-known friend(s),” and questioned why Cameron was transferred to oversee Internal Affairs after the incident. 

“Was there an attempt to cover up their involvement or complicity in the aftermath?” asked PCDO. “We at the Pima County Deputy’s Organization are outraged that Sheriff Nanos has failed to investigate the serious misconduct amongst his own command that allowed the prolonged sexual assault of a deputy.”

Cameron’s profile on the Pima county Sheriff’s Office website stated that his leadership style is the Golden Rule: “treat others the way you want to be treated.”

The Pima County Republican Party called for Nanos to resign.

Just months before the sexual assault incident, Nanos endorsed Gov. Katie Hobbs’ candidacy and was featured in one of her campaign videos. Nanos, a registered Democrat, has been dismissive of the ongoing border crisis.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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