Ex-sheriff gets prison in meth-for-sex case

Published 10:26 am Friday, June 20, 2014

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A judge on Thursday sentenced a former Colorado sheriff to 15 months in prison for repeatedly violating his probation in a meth-for-sex case, saying the lawman, who was once regarded as a hero, had exhausted his opportunities to reform.

Patrick Sullivan was sentenced two years after pleading guilty to plying young men with methamphetamine in exchange for sexual favors. The 71-year-old was once named the nation’s top sheriff and won praise for his leadership of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department in the Denver suburbs.

“I have a drug problem, and I have had a drug problem for some time,” Sullivan said in court on Thursday, apologizing before Judge William Sylvester issued his sentence. “I have only myself to blame.”

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Sullivan was arrested in December 2011 after authorities arranged a sting that revealed he was trading methamphetamine for sex. Months earlier, a 911 caller reported Sullivan was at his house trying to get three recovering addicts back on drugs.

He later pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and solicitation of a prostitute. Sylvester sentenced him to 30 days in jail and two years’ probation.

The courtroom erupted in applause on Thursday as deputies handcuffed Sullivan and took him into custody, though some had hoped for a harsher sentence.

Sullivan told the judge he was benefiting from an in-patient drug treatment program he recently enrolled in after missing or failing dozens of drug tests.

But his probation officer, Hallie Miller, said his purported efforts to reform were a front, and he continued to lie and make excuses for his risky behavior. He blamed positive meth tests on everyone from a doctor who prescribed him pills to a neighbor who he said drugged him at a barbecue, Miller said.