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Balloon Boy Sheriff Won't be Charged For Blabbing About Child Welfare Investigation

(AP Photo/Will Powers)
Photo: Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden.

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) The Colorado sheriff who disclosed that "Balloon Boy's" parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, were being investigated by child welfare officials will not face criminal charges, according to a special prosecutor.

PICTURES: The Bizarre "Balloon Boy" Incident

David Lane, attorney for Richard Heene, father of the infamous "Balloon Boy" Falcon Heene, claimed the revelation by Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden violated privacy laws.

However, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, appointed as a special prosecutor to consider Lane's complaint, said Tuesday that Alderden disclosed no information from the Department of Social Services.

Alderden said he wasn't surprised by Garnett's decision, adding that Lane's complaint was typical of the attorney's tactics of "attack, distract and discredit."

Lane responded by saying, "When law enforcement breaks the law, I attack." He added: "Unfortunately I usually have to rely on other law enforcement to do something about it."

Lane said he disagreed with the district attorney's conclusion.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Falcon Heene, left, with his father Richard Heene.

"This is a typical law enforcement investigating law enforcement whitewash," he said. But he added there was nothing he could do about the decision.

The Heenes are under investigation for reporting that their 6-year-old son, Falcon, had drifted away on a homemade balloon that broke loose from its tethers Oct. 16 in Fort Collins. The report set off a mad scramble by police, firefighters, National Guard and media helicopters as the UFO-shaped balloon flew 50 miles across northern Colorado.

The balloon eventually crashed into a field, and authorities soon discovered no one was on board. That sparked fears the boy had fallen out until he was found safe at home. He said he had been hiding because he was afraid he was in trouble.

Alderden has accused the parents of lying and staging a hoax for publicity while trying to land a reality TV show. The Heene family went on national television to plead their case, but Falcon Heene, the boy believed to have been in the balloon, told Larry King "we did this for the show." His father has remained adamant that it was not a hoax.

The Larimer County district attorney is considering whether to file charges against the family.

Lane said it's just a matter of time before the Heenes are charged.

MEDIA
Photos: The Bizarre "Balloon Boy" Incident
Audio: Richard Heene's Frantic 911 Call

MORE ON CRIMESIDER
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  • Sammy Saltzman

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