Interrogation of former sheriff raises questions about more charges

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Patrick Sullivan Confession. Video image: Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office

Patrick Sullivan Confession. Video image: Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office

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ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- The release of the police interrogation of former Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan is sparking heated debate over why prosecutors did not seek more serious charges.

Earlier this month, in a plea deal, Sullivan pleaded guilty to one count of possessing meth and to soliciting a prostitute. He immediately began serving a jail sentence that lasted 17 days.

But in the three-hour long interrogation that took place right after his arrest, Sullivan admitted to much more serious crimes.

He admits to having possessed and used meth, not just once, but for years.  And he admits he distributed it, as well.

He admits to taking an at risk person’s social security money to buy meth for himself. And he admits to overdosing the same at risk adult with a date rape drug in order to have sex with him.

Investigators asked Sullivan, “And knocking him out with GHB and taking advantage of him sexually.  Am I wrong about that?”  Sullivan answers, “No.”

Legal analyst and former prosecutor Craig Silverman says that could be considered the possible crime of sex assault.  Silverman says, “It’s a rape drug and for him to admit it in conjunction with sex, you’re more than halfway home to proving a very serious crime.”

The most serious admissions are in response to questions about sex with minors. Sullivan waffles and at times says meth and alcohol may have clouded his memory.

But at one point investigators ask Sullivan, “Are you sorry you engaged those children sexually?”  And Sullivan answers, “Oh, yes.  Incredibly.  I’m sorry for so many things I’ve done.”

Prosecutors earlier said despite these admissions, they did not have enough evidence to charge Sullivan with sexual assault on a child.

But the interrogation tape shows investigators did have specific information and even witnesses who say Sullivan confessed to having sex with a 13-year-old.

Investigators ask Sullivan, “So it’s possible you did engage in a threesome with a 13-year-old?” Sullivan answers, “It’s yes.  Yes.” And then he says, “I apologize and plead guilty.”

Silverman says, “When someone admits to sexually assaulting a child, when someone admits to using a date rape drug on a disabled adult, it’s startling that the case would just go away and nothing would come of it.” He adds, “This is dynamite evidence. It’s hard to believe prosecutors could not find anyone to corroborate these startling admissions.”

Silverman says the big question is did prosecutors agree to never pursue other cases against Sullivan as part of the plea bargain? Or could this public release of the interrogation spark a new investigation?

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