Sunday, October 3, 2010
Teen gets 12-month sentence for minor offense - and thug gets probation for raping her
Ashley had no inkling of what was to come on the day in 2005 when she was in Manhattan Family Court on a minor charge.
"You want to believe everybody's good, everybody wants to help you," she told me last week.
A hulking juvenile counselor named Tony Simmons led her in handcuffs from the girls holding area to the elevator.
She expected Tyson, as Simmons was called, to bring her up to the courtroom where she was scheduled to be sentenced for filing a false police report.
Instead, the elevator descended to the basement. The 42-year-old counselor pulled down her pants and raped her with calm, practiced precision that made him all the more terrifying.
"He knew exactly what he was doing," Ashley said. "Everything."
When he was done, Simmons pulled her pants back up and the elevator ascended to the courtroom. He raised an extended index finger to his lips in a mute command for her to say nothing.
"I was very scared," Ashley said. "I was terrified. He was a very large man."
Just moments after being violated, Ashley was seated next to her mother and before the judge. She was too shocked and terrified to report the attack.
"I knew I was just raped. I knew it wasn't supposed to happen," she recalled. "I didn't think anybody would believe me."
She kept silent as she was found to be a juvenile delinquent and sentenced to 12 months. She says her only crime was initially reporting to police she did not know who had jumped and cut her on the way to school.
Simmons continued to prey on teenagers in his custody until 2008, when a 15-year-old girl came forward to say he had sodomized her behind a locker in the girls holding area, which he stocked with condoms and cookies. Investigators believe the assaults go back a decade to the rape of a 13-year-old in the holding area.
"Just the tip of the iceberg," Assistant District Attorney Amir Vonsover said in 2008, when Simmons was indicted for three sex assaults.
On Sept. 27, Simmons appeared in court and pleaded guilty to raping Ashley and sexually assaulting two other teens.
He received probation.
"I got 12 months for a falsified police report and he got probation for raping me and the others," Ashley said on Friday. "It's just ridiculous."
Ashley says she was not told about the probation deal when she called Vonsover last week to check on the case. She had prepped to testify in the upcoming trial, but she was now told that Simmons had pleaded guilty.
"[Vonsover] said, 'You should be so happy,'" Ashley recalled. "I'm thinking, 'Great. He's definitely going to jail.'"