PHOENIX -- Days after one of the men who led a national border vigilante movement was arrested on accusations of child molestation, former Senate President Russell Pearce had this to say about Chris Simcox: “good people do stupid things sometimes.”
Pearce, who was the author of tough immigration measures like SB 1070, worked closely with Simcox over the years on border issues, as well as politics. At one point, Simcox donated money and worked on Pearce’s short lived 2010 Congressional run.
Phoenix police arrested Simcox Wednesday on accusations that he inappropriately touched three girls who were under the age of 10. Simcox, the co-founder of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, has denied the charges, saying they are coming from his ex-wife.
“I’m very cautious to comment when I first hear a report, I know he’s gone through an ugly divorce, you don’t know if this stems from that, you just don’t know,” Pearce said in an exclusive interview with Channel 3.
Pearce was speaking after appearing on the station’s weekly public affairs show, Politics Unplugged, which airs at 5:30 Sunday.
Pearce added that he hopes the allegations leveled against Simcox, a former elementary school teacher, are untrue.
Simcox, 52, was seen as a champion of the anti-illegal immigration movement as he and his group routinely led armed citizen patrols along the U.S. border with Mexico.
This is not the first time Pearce has been questioned about the company he keeps. Pearce, who currently sits as the No. 2 ranking member of the Arizona Republican Party, had a close relationship with mass-murder and neo-Nazi, J.T. Ready.
Ready, who was known for his extremist views on illegal immigration and race, went on a rampage in 2012, killing his girlfriend and three others before turning a gun on himself.
Pearce has since tried to distance himself from Ready.