10/15/2006

Sheriff's candidate in Colo. says sexually suggestive video does not disqualify him

By ROBERT WELLER
Associated Press Writer

DENVER- A candidate for sheriff says a sexually suggestive film he made of himself should not disqualify him from the office.

It is a healthy example of performance art, Rick Magnuson said Sunday.

The 12-minute clip shows him from behind as he appears to masturbate outdoors. The camera was mounted on a tripod about 20 yards away.

"If you look at it, it is probably G-rated. A beer commercial is more explicit than this," said Magnuson, a candidate for sheriff of Pitkin County, of which Aspen is the seat.

The video became an issue after he gave a copy to an Aspen cable television station, which has run it in the middle of the night.

Magnuson, 41, a civilian who works in community safety for the Aspen police department, said the film was made a year after he broke up with his girlfriend.

"What I think is that in everyone's life they have issues that come up and I think art is a good way to deal with it instead of sedating yourself with chemicals. It shows I can be a good role model rather than the way the sheriff deals with his problems. I assume he did something because he just got out of rehab," Magnuson said in a telephone interview Saturday.

His election opponent, Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis, 61, checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic four months ago. He told the Rocky Mountain News that his decision to enter the clinic was private and that he was not an alcoholic.

Magnuson's campaign has focused on allegations of lax enforcement of drug and alcohol laws under Braudis.

The Aspen police-Pitkin sheriff's dispatch center would not contact Braudis for comment on the video, saying he was available only for emergencies. Braudis told the Aspen Times: "I've seen it and I have no comment."

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