Claims to fame: Republican political consultant; Pueblo, Colorado, presidential campaign manager for fellow Conservative Babylonian Sen. http://home.conservativebabylon.com/2006/12/09/john-mccain-r-ariz/" target="_blank">John McCain (2008); youth counselor, King of Kings Lutheran Church; Boy Scout leader; sponsor, Parkview Medical Center Chemical Dependency Unit; multiple-child molestation suspect
Moral apex: Arrested twice, once in January, 2009, for sexually assaulting two young boys (â€Bartleson also reportedly threatened one victim allegedly saying that if he told people about the incident he would kill themâ€; http://www.krdo.com/Global/story.asp?S=9764262" target="_blank">KRDO.com), and again in February, 2009, for sexually assaulting â€œa 5-year-old boy left in his care so the boyâ€™s mother could attend a rally for McCainâ€™s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.â€ (http://coloradoindependent.com/20907/pueblo-manager-for-mccain-campaign-arrested-on-molestation-charges" target="_blank">Colorado Independent)
Whatâ€™s worse: Since his arrest, more (we donâ€™t know how many) alleged victims have come forward.
Whatâ€™s worst of all: â€œBartleson has been investigated at least five times for similar allegations since 1982, although never charged or convicted of a crime.â€ (http://www.chieftain.com/articles/2009/01/30/news/local/doc4982c3ce14e05232542501.txt" target="_blank">Pueblo Chieftain)
So why was he allowed to continue to work with children? Even with no charges or convictions, normal people are not investigated even once, let alone five times, for allegations of child sexual abuse.
What now? Bartleson was released on $150,000 bond, and then, after the second arrest, was held on $300,000 bond. As of May, 2009, the investigation continues.
Jinx? Between 2007 and 2008, Bartleson managed the campaigns for Republicans John McCain (president); Muslims For Bush founder (and current Fox News commentator) Muhammad Ali Hasan (Colorado House); and Bentley Rayburn (U.S. House). All three either lost or withdrew from their races.
Visual aid: Hereâ€™s a real relic with Bartlesonâ€™s name on it: a http://www.cologop.org/Roots/01b4b4de-585c-4895-bb18-68825ec652de/Documents/96HrRally%20Flier%20Disclosure.pdf" target="_blank">flyer for a â€œVictory 96-Hour Rally for John McCain, Sarah Palin and Bob Schaffer.â€
February 5, 2009:
Police arrested the former manager of Sen. John McCainâ€™s Pueblo presidential campaign office Wednesday on charges he sexually" target="_blank">http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_11637020">sexually assaulted a 5-year-old boy left in his care so the boyâ€™s mother could attend a rally for McCainâ€™s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, The Denver Postâ€™s Howard Pankratz reported Thursday afternoon.
Itâ€™s the second" target="_blank">http://www.chieftain.com/articles/2009/01/30/news/local/doc4982c3ce14e05232542501.txt">second arrest on charges of sexual assault on a child by a person in position of trust in a week for Jeffrey Claude Bartleson, 52, who has faced similar allegations at least five times since 1982 without being convicted of a crime, according to the Pueblo Chieftainâ€™s Nick Bonham.
Two detectives have been assigned full-time to the investigation and are looking into allegations Bartleson lured victims through church groups, his work as a sponsor at a hospital drug rehab unit, and during involvement in political work.
Bartleson listed his occupation as â€œpolitical consultantâ€ at the Pueblo County Jail, the Chieftain reported, but state Republican groups were quick to distance themselves from him. Bartleson indeed ran the McCain office in Pueblo and directed the Republican nomineeâ€™s southern Colorado campaign, the chairman of the Pueblo County Republican Party told Pankratz, but doesnâ€™t hold an official party position and had only attended a few GOP meetings. The state Republican Party told Pankratz they had had â€œno contactâ€ with Bartleson.
In an arrest affidavit, one alleged victim said Bartleson was â€œwearing clothes the same as John McCain,â€ the Chieftain reported.
After reading about Bartlesonâ€™s arrest last week, a McCain campaign worker from Pueblo contacted police and said she believed her son had been assaulted by Bartleson in October when the boy spent the night at Bartlesonâ€™s house.
According to the woman, she and a co-worker were planning in October to attend a Sarah Palin rally in Colorado Springs but wanted to travel to the Springs the night before.
She told police that she mentioned the planned trip to Bartleson. He offered to keep her 5-year-old son overnight in Pueblo and then drive up to Colorado Springs the next day and meet them there.
She accepted Bartlesonâ€™s offer.
The woman said that her son told her that while at Bartlesonâ€™s home, Bartleson insisted on giving him a bath, during which he was sexually molested. Later, said the child, Bartleson forced him into Bartlesonâ€™s bed, where he once again was molested.
In interviews this week with investigators, the child said that when he tried to get away from Bartleson, he kept pulling him back into the bed. He was finally able to leave when Bartleson fell asleep.
The boy told police that â€œMr. Jeffâ€ told him he had done the same things to five others, according to an arrest affidavit cited by Pankratz.
Court documents filed after his arrest last week describe interviews with witnesses and other possible victims, including boys Bartleson met when he worked with the chemical dependency unit at the Parkview Medical Center and as a youth counselor at King of Kings Lutheran Church. One alleged victim told police Bartleson said â€œif he tells anyone about him touching him then he will murder him.â€
Bartleson is being held in lieu of $300,000 bond in the Pueblo County Jail, officials said.