Controversy continues to swirl around Shahram “Poker Pervert” Sheikhan, the professional poker player and convicted child molester whose appearance on NBC’s late-night television program “Poker After Dark” last month is sparking national outrage.
Sheikhan, a 38-year-old native of Iran who now lives in Las Vegas, has been invited to participate later this month in a charity poker tournament–run by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department! =A0 On February 24, 2008, the Los Angeles County’s Sheriff’s Department’s Transit Services Bureau is scheduled to hold its second annual Memorial Poker Classic at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California.
According to the department, the event is held to raise monies for the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters who perished in the line of duty.
The Sheriff’s Department has invited a number of professional poker players to participate in the charity tourney, and shockingly, one of the invited poker pros is Sheikhan, who was convicted in 1995 in California of sexual battery and other crimes against a minor, and who served nine months in prison for the offenses. The U.S. government last year tried to deport Sheikhan back to Iran, as part of a Federal program that targets foreign sex offenders, but the deportation hearing was halted by a judge when the Feds couldn’t produce the records documenting Sheikhan’s crimes, because California officials only kept the records for 10 years.
The operator of Perverted Primates (www.pervertedprimates.com), a website that tracks sex crimes and assists law enforcement organizations around the USA by providing them with information about such crimes and their perpetrators, said it had notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Friday about Sheikhan’s status as a sex offender, in an effort to get him disinvited from the charity tourney.
“Law enforcement is supposed to be rounding up creeps like Sheikhan and putting them away, not playing poker with them,” said the website operator, who didn’t want to be identified, because of previous death threats from sex criminals covered by the website.
Inviting a convicted child molester to its charity poker tournament is just the latest controversy involving the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and a celebrity.
Last year, the department, which is headed by Sheriff Lee Baca, sparked massive outrage nationally when it allowed convicted drunken driver Paris Hilton to serve just three days in the county jail for her offense, even though she had been sentenced by a judge to 45 days in jail.
The outrage forced Baca to send Hilton back to jail to complete her sentence, amid the embarassing revelation that Hilton’s grandfather, Barron Hilton, had months earlier given Baca a $1,000 campaign donation.
For more information about the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s upcoming charity poker event, visit its website at www.lasd.org or the Bicycle Casino’s website at www.thebicyclecasino.com.
(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)