PHOENIX -- A retired Mesa police sergeant arrested on suspicion of child sex crimes, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday.
66-year-old Russell Dean Millsaps was taken into custody March 14 after a search warrant was served at his home. He was booked into jail on suspicion of child molestation and sexual exploitation of a minor.
Investigators reportedly found sexually graphic images of young children on his cell phone. Mesa police say the arrest was part of an interstate federal child-pornography investigation.
Authorities say Millsaps was a longtime patrol sergeant who retired from the Mesa Police Department in 1995 after working for more than 25 years as an officer.
3TV also learned that Millsaps was a leader at an LDS church not far from his home in central Mesa. When we asked a church member if he thought Millsaps committed the alleged crimes, he replied, "Absolutely not.".
"He seemed really nice," one neighbor said of Millsaps. "He was all the time out with his grandkids, always outside playing. He always had his house nicely decorated for the holidays. They're just good people. They seem to be good people."
Millsaps is due back in court May 20.