MCCCD governing board candidate accused of public sexual indecency – The Arizona Republic

The Republican candidate for Maricopa Community College District Governing Board suspended his campaign after being arrested and accused of public sexual indecency earlier this month.
Randy Kaufman announced his campaign suspension on Tuesday after news broke that he had been arrested earlier in October after a police officer said he found him masturbating in his vehicle at a public parking lot.
According to a police report, Kaufman was in his parked Ford F-150 pickup truck in the east parking lot of Rio Salado College in Surprise on Oct. 4 at about 4:40 p.m.
A Maricopa County Community College District police officer noticed the truck was parked over three spaces and drove over for a closer look.
The police reports says the officer parked their vehicle about 20 feet away from the truck’s passenger side and walked up to the truck where he noticed a man with his pants down mid-thigh, masturbating while looking at a cellphone.
The officer noted in the report that Kaufman didn’t notice him, but the officer saw a bicyclist and preschool children near Wirtzie’s Preschool and Child Care Center in clear view from the parking lot. The officer then moved to the driver’s side as Kaufman noticed the officer and hurriedly covered himself with a cloth.
The police report states Kaufman rolled down his window and the officer said “Seriously?” and told him to pull his pants up and exit the vehicle.
“I’m sorry,” Kaufman replied, according to the report. “I f—ked up. I’m really stressed.”
Kaufman said he hadn’t noticed the officer until he walked up to the driver’s side door and admitted he was masturbating while watching pornography on his phone.
“Why would you do that here?” the officer asked according to the report. “I saw a guy on a bike pass by you. If I could see you, don’t you think other people could? Cars were passing by you in the lot.”
The police report said Kaufman replied that he only realized that later.
“I’m just really stressed out,” Kaufman said. “I have a lot of things going on.”
Kaufman told the officer masturbating in public wasn’t something he normally did. The officer asked Kaufman to look around and describe the nearby area, to which Kaufman said he noticed the child care center but only after the officer had confronted him, the report states.
“Don’t you see how alarming that is?” the officer said. “That there are children nearby, people passing on bikes and in cars where they can look and see what you are doing?”
Kaufman repeated that he had “f—ked up” and said he lived in Buckeye but drove to the area to buy rebar. The police report says Kaufman told the officer he knew masturbating in public was a crime. He told the officer he was retired after working for the Arizona Department of Corrections for 27 years.
The police report states that, after asking if he could go “off-the-record,” Kaufman told the officer he knew another Maricopa County Community College District police officer named Jim Hill. He also mentioned that he was a candidate for the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board.
The police report says the officer notified his supervisor about Kaufman’s statements that he was a candidate for the governing board and knew another officer in the department. Kaufman was arrested on suspicion of public sexual indecency.
Jennifer Liewer, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, said the office hadn’t received a submittal from the officer yet and that prosecutors would need time to review the case before making a charging decision.
Kaufman sent The Arizona Republic a written statement confirming that he had suspended his campaign:
“A personal legal matter has recently arisen, and I need to step out of the race to focus on personal affairs. I am sincerely grateful for the supporters and friends I have gathered throughout the campaign. I will never stop fighting to protect the United States Constitution and the values that make America the greatest country in the world.”
The Republican Party of Arizona also released a statement supporting Kaufman’s decision to suspend his campaign:
“Every American citizen has the right to fair treatment throughout the judicial system. The Republican Party of Arizona respects due process and the Constitution. We support Mr. Kaufman’s decision to suspend his campaign.”
Jim Hill, president of the Maricopa County Colleges Police Officers Association, told The Republic that the police union had rescinded its endorsement of Kaufman.
State Rep. Kelli Butler, a Democrat running against Kaufman for the governing board seat, tweeted a written statement:
“The nature of the charges against Mr. Kaufman is extremely troubling and I hope all facts about this incident will be known soon and that justice is served,” Butler said. “According to the report, this incident occurred within feet of an occupied pre-school, and Mr. Kaufman acknowledged guilt and tried to leverage his candidacy. Needless to say that’s unacceptable.”
Butler continued that it was critical for voters to be aware of the incident before casting their ballots.
Reach the reporter Perry Vandell at 602-444-2474 or Follow him on Twitter @PerryVandell.
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