Continuing revelations make it difficult to turn away from the tragic saga of the family of longtime East Valley politician Fulton Brock, whose wife was sentenced to prison for, and his daughter indicted on, sexual misconduct charges.
Since Brock's wife Susan was arrested last fall, the story has continued to unfold with continued shocking disclosures. That this involves the family of a Maricopa County supervisor has made it a story for local media that, while it likely would have been reported anyway, would not have been as prominently had it been about people with unrecognizable last names.
Susan Brock, 49, was sentenced earlier this month to 13 years in prison on three counts of attempted sexual conduct with a minor boy, now 17, that court records say started when he was 13. A grand jury has indicted Brock's daughter, Rachel, 22, on five counts of sexual conduct with the same boy and furnishing harmful materials to a minor.
From the time of his wife's arrest last October, Fulton Brock has been the picture of the unwitting husband and father, a man who on the day of her arrest was "flabbergasted" by what police alleged his wife did. News of his daughter's indictments certainly would have been as unnerving. To be blind sided by such revelations is among any spouse's, any parent's, worst nightmares.
But as the Tribune's Mike Sakal has reported, a 26-page report issued this week by the Chandler Police Department reveals officers' findings that Fulton Brock may have known more about his wife's behavior earlier than at the time of her Oct. 26, 2010, arrest - perhaps as much as a year before.
As Sakal reported, according to Chandler police:
• Officials of the Brocks' church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, became aware of allegations involving his wife in October 2009 when the boy's parents and Fulton and Susan Brock met with a church official to talk about them.
• At this meeting, Susan Brock denied having any sexual activity with the boy. And, at that same meeting Fulton Brock took back an iPhone that police said his wife had purchased for the boy and used to transmit text messages with sexual content.
• Fulton Brock later hid the phone in a lockbox in his home. Police confiscated the phone at the time of Susan Brock's arrest. According to the report, Fulton Brock initially told officers he didn't know where the phone was. But after they, with a search warrant, went through the home for 45 minutes, he turned it over.
• And a letter dated Oct. 19, 2010, that police say was written by Fulton Brock, discusses his ideas about dealing with the allegations against his wife. The police report said: "The statement Mr. Brock made of being ‘completely in the dark' is inconsistent with that given by (church bishops). ... Although Mr. Brock authoring this letter may not rise to the level of probable cause, it does refute his statement that he did not learn of his wife's relationship with the victim until Oct. 26, 2010."
It is not disputed here that Fulton Brock was victimized by his wife's behavior and by the allegations about his daughter. Nor is it disputed here that any husband or father, however victimized, might still have feelings of concern for his wife and daughter, even under these circumstances.
But this is not about just any family. Call it an unfair standard, but Brock is a public official, and his family's private life is now a very public matter involving actual or alleged criminal behavior. How forthcoming he is about what he knew and when he knew it regarding these matters is of high interest to the voters who elected him.
In other words, should those voters be able to count on Fulton Brock to be completely forthcoming about Maricopa County business, if he indeed was hiding cell phones and writing letters before he said he was "flabbergasted" by the charges against his wife?
Fulton Brock has hired a publicist who has been speaking for him. But he is a politician long used to speaking for himself. It is not too much to expect him to do his own talking to clear up some pretty messy matters that are getting messier.
• Mark J. Scarp (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Tribune contributing columnist whose column appears on Sundays.