NACO, AZ - APRIL 2: Chris Simcox, one of the organizers of the Minuteman Project, looks through an infrared scope trying to spot people moving towards the United States border April 2, 2005 near Naco, Arizona. More than 1,000 volunteers from the Minuteman Project are expected to fan out across a 23 mile stretch on the Arizona side of the border to search for Illegal aliens who are making the trek into the United States from Mexico during April. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)2005 Getty Images
The man who put the once ubiquitous Minuteman movement on the national map and who long ago faded from headlines may have just experienced his final fall from grace.
Chris Simcox, 52, was arrested in Arizona for allegedly molesting three girls, all under 10, according the Tucson newspaper the Arizona Daily Star.
Simcox, a California transplant who moved to southern Arizona a decade ago and bought the Tucson Tumbleweed newspaper as the publicity organ for his then-fledgling civilian volunteer border patrol group, which he formed in 2002.
The group was started to protest what was then perceived -- a criticism still widely voiced today -- that the federal government was not doing enough to protect the U.S.-Mexico border.
In 2005, Simcox's growing volunteer corps teamed up with anti-illegal-immigration activist Jim Gilchrist to launch the original Minuteman Movement, which quickly became a national sensation leading to the formation of dozens of chapters.
But after a couple of years in the spotlight, Simcox and Gilchrist began quarreling and the internal infighting grew to the point of the whole movement eventually fizzling. A few independent chapters in California and Texas remain active.
Simcox was arrested Wednesday in Phoenix and has been booked on suspicion of two counts of molestation of a child, two counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of attempted molestation of a child.
Simcox denies the allegation but but detectives with Family Investigations Bureau developed probable cause to arrest Simcox, according to the Daily Star.
It's actually not the first time that Simcox has run into trouble with the law.
In 2004, he was convicted of carrying a firearm in a national forest and sentenced to two years probation. In 2010, one of his ex-wives in California alleged he threatened to kill their family.
The Tucson Weekly reported in the past that Deborah Crews, Simcox’s first ex-wife, accused Simcox of pedophilia in 1998.
"He tried to molest our daughter when he was intoxicated," Crews told the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to Tucson Weekly. "When she ran out, he tried to say he was just giving her a leg massage and she got the wrong idea.”
Simcox has consistently denied those allegations.
He stepped down as president of the Minutemen in 2009 to challenge Sen. John McCain for his seat, before dropping out of the race when his campaign failed to take off.