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Friday, February 8th, 2008

Sheriff’s Office Confirms ‘Perv’ Out

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department yesterday officially confirmed what readers knew days ago–convicted child molester and professional poker player Shahram Sheikhan will not be a guest at the charity poker event being held later this month by the Sheriff’s Department’s Transit Services Bureau.

In response to an e-mail query from about the status of Sheikhan’s participation in the event, media spokesman Lt. John C. Baylis of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday issued a terse, one-sentence statement about the matter:

“Mr. Sheikhan will no longer be attending the Transit Services Bureau’s charity poker tournament,” Baylis wrote in an e-mail.

Sheikhan, 38, an Iranian native who lives in Las Vegas and is known by the nicknames “Shawn” and “Sheiky” as well as the media moniker “Poker Pervert,” was convicted of sexual battery of a minor and other sex crimes in 1995 in California and served nine months in jail and five years probation. The U.S. government tried to deport him back to Iran last year.

Earlier this year, Sheikhan was announced by the Sheriff’s Department as an invited celebrity guest to its February 24, 2008, Second Annual Memorial Poker Classic at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California, held to raise monies for the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters who perished in the line of duty.

After an outcry from the media about the invitation, Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Scott M. Diamond, the officer who personaly invited Sheikhan, defended the child-molesting ex-con vigorously, in e-mails to the media.

Eventually, however, the Sheriff’s Department was forced to back off and it was decided Sheikhan would not attend the charity poker event, sources outside the Sheriff’s Department told earlier this week.

And, although the Sheriff’s Department was initially reluctant to publicly admit its faux pas, a Sheriff’s Department’s spokesman finally conceded later in the week what any clear-thinking individual was expecting–in the end, Sheikhan would not be at the event.

All in all, it was not a good week for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

In addition to having to make a public reversal about having Sheikhan at its upcoming charity poker event, disclosed that Sheikhan attended a similar charity poker event run by the Sheriff’s Department last year, despite the Department knowing about his criminal past. also revealed that Diamond, the deputy who inivted Sheikhan to both the 2007 and 2008 charity poker events, admitted on an Internet blog to accepting $2,500 in poker chips from Sheikhan at last year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, so Diamond could compete in a satellite tournament in an effort to get into the WSOP main event (he didn’t make it).

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)

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