Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick Sullivan’s arrest in a meth-for-sex case left longtime law officers at a loss for words Wednesday, though court records paint a picture of a man who has been living a double life.
Sullivan, 68, remained behind bars in a jail that bears his name, accused of trading methamphetamine for sex with a man Tuesday, a transaction monitored by deputies working with a confidential informant. During a brief morning court appearance Wednesday, a judge doubled his bail to $500,000.
The arrest of the married father and grandfather sparked shock — even bewilderment — among longtime law officers.
“It’s very, very distressing,” said Colorado’s U.S. marshal, John Kammerzell.
Kammerzell has known Sullivan for 32 years — from his own time as sheriff in Rio Blanco County and from a six-year stretch when he headed the state sheriffs association.
Court records and interviews show that Sullivan had, for months and perhaps years, been associating with alleged drug users and putting himself in positions not expected from a man who as sheriff crusaded against drugs and semiautomatic weapons.
Wednesday evening, a man who owns a home in Centennial said Sullivan was a frequent visitor this year to the house, where he would consume drugs and have sex with young men living there.
He said Sullivan intimidated him.
“I couldn’t get rid of these guys because this guy named Pat Sullivan said you are going to let them stay for free,” Derek Hendrickson said. “He said I said they could stay for free and it would hold up in court, and said, ‘Do you know who I am?’ “
“He was telling me he has a jail named after him.”
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, who served under Sullivan and then succeeded him, said the investigation is complex and “very active.”