The Maricopa County Attorney's Office will not prosecute a candidate for Tempe mayor suspected of sexual abuse.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has already endorsed Michael Monti for mayor. Phoenix police say Monti's opponent, Mark Mitchell, is suspected of having sex with a 10-year-old girl in 1983. He was 13 or 14. Detectives say Mitchell has denied knowing her.
Montgomery says the case has been forwarded to the Yavapai County Prosecutor's Office to avoid any potential conflict. It's review of the case is expected to take 30-to-45 days.
According to a police report (below), the suspected victim and Mitchell met in person on April 5, 2012 to talk about the past. Detectives say he told her they were young and experimenting...that he never meant to hurt her.
Mitchell released this statement:
"The allegations in the Phoenix police report involving me are false, vile, and clearly politically motivated.
Supporters of my opponent in the Tempe Mayor’s race have relentlessly trafficked even more despicable allegations in anonymous emails, blog posts and calls to the media. Those allegations are also false.
None of these false, salacious allegations were ever mentioned to anyone until a few weeks before this election. There has been a coordinated media push by my opponent’s surrogates every day since. It seems that no tactic is too low for my opponent. He and his team have proven that over and over.
We have reached a new low in Tempe politics. We have graduated from merely trying to damage someone’s reputation to actively trying to ruin their life. I trust that voters will see through it.
My opponent started his campaign months ago by smearing me, and he is going to end with what may be the most repulsive last-minute attack in Arizona history."