Some 60 people arrested in a Phoenix prostitution sting will not be charged because Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies used tactics including nudity and sexual contact in undercover operations, the Arizona Republic reports. County prosecutors believe last year’s two-month sting, which targeted prostitution suspects and men accused of soliciting sex for money, was botched by sheriff’s officials who allowed undercover deputies to remove their clothing and engage in sex acts on videotape. “The credibility of the officers and the tactics they used are so abhorrent that we believe the likelihood of conviction has disappeared,” Special Assistant County Attorney Barnett Lotstein said.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio will ask federal prosecutors to take the cases, which stem from two investigations called Operations House Call and Destiny. Among suspects arrested were a radio station’s sales manager, a state corrections officer, and a woman who billed herself as a former Miss Canada. Some critics said devoting 400 officers to such a low-level crime was a waste of resources. Arpaio remains defiant: What are we coming to?” he asked. “If you want prostitution, change the law, but don’t go criticizing my officers who are trying to enforce the law under difficult circumstances.”