Police arrest former TPD officer on sexual abuse charges

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Police arrest former TPD officer on sexual abuse charges

By Ina Ronquillo, Cory Marshall . CREATED Aug 22, 2013 - UPDATED: Sep 26, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson Police arrested former officer Benjamin Gaballa Wednesday on sexual abuse charges after an administrative investigation.

The 24-year-old is charged with two counts each of sexual abuse and sexual assault, citing forensic evidence.

Tucson Police Sgt. Maria Hakwe tells KGUN9 that on August 20, police were advised of possible misconduct of Gaballa.

The Pima County Jail advised police that a female prisoner had made allegations against Gaballa that indicated he had engaged in "inappropriate conduct."

Because allegations made were potentially criminal in nature, personnel from the Office of Internal Affairs initiated both a criminal and administrative investigation into Gaballa’s conduct.

Gaballa was immediately removed from duty and placed on imposed leave.

Investigators learned that Gaballa falsified an official police report, engaged in misrepresentation of facts to his supervisor, and mishandled evidence.

"We knew there were inconsistencies in Gaballa's statement and based on that, he violated several general orders. He's a probationary employee and if you're not going to be honest about what you're doing and where you're going, we really don't have no use for you on this department," TPD Chief Roberto Villaseñor told 9OYS.

Gaballa was terminated from employment with the Tucson Police Department on August 22 as a result of the discoveries made during the investigation.

Several years back, police shifted the probationary period from 12 months to 18 months.

"That's exactly to deal with these types of issues," Villaseñor explained. 

"If there's something that someone got through who doesn't belong here or just cant stand up to the riggers of the job," he continued.

Nine On Your Side went to Gaballa's home, Thursday. A family member, who answered the door, refused to comment, referring us to the family attorney.

A call to Gaballa's lawyer has not been returned.