Probation Counselor Arrested For Sexual Misconduct With A Minor

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Payson police arrested a drug court counselor after allegedly sleeping with an underage client.

The 25-year-old female of Tempe, was arrested May 26 by the Payson Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit on charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.

The counselor allegedly had a one-month long sexual relationship with a juvenile drug court client in Payson. At the time of the relationship, the counselor worked for Tatum & Associates of Peoria. Gila County and several other counties in Arizona contract with the company to offer drug counseling.

On May 26, the counselor posted a bond of $1,500 and was released.

The Payson Police Department asks any parents in Gila County whose child may have had inappropriate conduct with the female counselor to contact Det. Mike Varga at (928) 474-5242 ext. 271. Parents in other counties are asked to contact their local probation department or police agency.

It is the Roundup’s policy not to name victims or suspects in sex crimes. Suspects are only identified after conviction.

Burned body mystery solved

Detectives have solved the mystery surrounding the burned body found inside a charred vehicle in late April.

An unsold computer program — that is what led a Tempe man to take his own life down a desolate dirt road south of Payson.

It was in the late hours of April 28 when a motorists traveling on Highway 87 spotted smoke and flames coming from a valley far off from the road. Firefighters found an SUV engulfed in flames on Forest Service Road 177 and when the fire was out, a badly charred body in the back.

Through an investigation, detectives ended up at the owner of the vehicle’s apartment in Tempe. Inside, officers found a note dated the day before the fire that outlined how and why the man was ending his life.

“He was distraught over not being able to sell a computer program he had designed and worked on for a long time,” according to a press release from the GCSO.

In the note, the man said he initially thought of setting fire to his apartment, but decided against it out of concern for the safety of other residents and firefighters.

The man writes he decided instead to drive north on Highway 87 and set fire to his vehicle from the inside. In the debris of the vehicle, detectives found the remains of a flare pistol and burnt flare.

Twins give same guilty pleas

They look the same, talk the same and on Tuesday afternoon, gave the same guilty pleas.

Identical twins James and Devin Gabel, 18, appeared side by side in Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill’s Payson courtroom to plead guilty to theft charges.

According to their lawyers, on Aug. 20, 2010, James and Devin found a key to a Gisela home they thought was empty.

Using the key, they broke into the home and found several guns inside.

The teens grabbed the guns and were seen by witnesses carrying them away.

The boys initially pleaded not guilty to the charges of theft and second-degree burglary. In November 2010, a grand jury indicted the teens and when the teens missed a court hearing, a warrant was issued for the arrest.

The young men were eventually arrested and released on bond, according to court records.

On Tuesday, the Gabel teens pleaded guilty, acknowledging that they could spend as long as three years on probation, up to a year in jail and pay $5,000 in restitution.

Cahill will impose a sentence June 27 at 11:30 a.m. for Devin and 11:45 a.m. for James.

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