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Arrested Deputy Fire Chief Accused of Having Sex With Lamb

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The deputy fire chief accused of sexual conduct with a neighbor’s lamb is retiring, Mesa officials said Thursday. Leroy Donald Johnson, 52, of Gilbert was arrested March 4, and since then has been on paid administrative leave pending the investigation’s outcome.

His retirement is effective at the end of April, said deputy fire chief Mary Cameli.

Johnson, a 26-year veteran, was in charge of the fire department’s communications, mapping and records management.

Officials said his personnel record had been spotless.

“He and his family are going through some very difficult times right now, and we wish the best for him and his family during his retirement,” Cameli said

A call to Johnson’s home went unanswered Thursday evening.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff ‘s Office, Johnson’s arrest came after the neighbor and another man said they found Johnson in a small barn in the 1200 block of East Catclaw Street; his pants were down as he held the small, young ewe to the ground, the men told deputies, according to the sheriff ‘s report.

Johnson was booked on suspicion of disorderly conduct, trespassing and public sexual indecency, all misdemeanors.

His next court appearance is a pretrial conference scheduled for April 19.

Arizona is one of 14 states without laws making sex with animals illegal.

The prior law was repealed nearly 30 years ago when legislators revised the state criminal code.

Earlier this week, Sheriff Joe Arpaio testified before the Legislature in support of a bill that would make sex with any nonhuman vertebrate, dead or alive, punishable by up to a year in prison.

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