PHOENIX -- Former Senate President Russell Pearce is walking back the comments he made last week about a former political ally and accused child molester, saying it was a mistake.
On Friday Pearce told 3TV, "Good people do bad, stupid things," after he was asked about Chris Simcox, the co-founder of a nationally known border vigilante group who now faces three counts of child molestation with girls under 10 years old.
Peace called the news station on Monday to say his comments were taken out of context and "it was a mistake on my part to use that phrase." He went on to say that "child molestation is next to homicide."
"If (Simcox) did that, then he deserves to burn," said Pearce, who has worked closely with Simcox on immigration and political issues in the past. Before last week's arrest, Simcox was best known as the co-founder of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, a civilian group that routinely patrolled the U.S.-Mexico border.
During his nearly dozen years in the state Legislature, Pearce was known for his tough stance on illegal immigration and was the author of SB 1070. In 2011, he was ousted during an unprecedented and historic recall election.
A year later, Pearce tried to mount a comeback but was defeated by the well-financed businessman Bob Worsley. Despite his political setbacks, Pearce currently sits as the No. 2 man in the Arizona Republican Party.