Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New York Juvenile Justice Counselor Accused of Teen Rape

NEW YORK (AP) — A counselor with New York City's Department of Juvenile Justice was charged Tuesday with the rape and sexual abuse of three teenage girls who were in his custody at Family Court.

Tony Simmons, a 16-year employee of the agency, was held on $100,000 cash bail after his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court. He faces up to four years in prison on each of two third-degree rape counts, the top charges.

Assistant District Attorney Amir Vonsover told Judge Felicia Mennin that the 45-year-old assaulted the three girls — two 15-year-olds and one 16-year-old — in 2005 and 2008 in the Manhattan Family Court building.

The Prosecutor said a fourth girl had accused Simmons of sexually abusing her, but he said the statute of limitations had lapsed and Simmons could not be charged with assaulting her.

Vonsover said Simmons, who earns $37,291 a year, was assigned to picked up girls in custody in the Bronx and bring them to Manhattan for hearings. He said the first complaint against Simmons was filed in July "and the investigation led to the next and the next and the next."

Vonsover reported that hours before the arraignment, four witnesses had identified him in a lineup as their assailant. He said only Simmons knows the true number of his victims, but three girls are ready to testify against him at trial.

No plea was entered at the arraignment but Simmons' lawyer, Richard Charney, said his client "absolutely denies all the charges" and "professes his innocence."

Charney added that Simmons had "no history of this kind of behavior" and said this arrest was his first. He said the defendant formerly was a correction officer at one of the jails.

Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said that after DJJ officials learned of the allegations in July, they suspended Simmons for 30 days without pay, barred him from contact with kids, and assigned him to desk duty.

Simmons was due to return to court Dec. 5.

NY juvenile justice counselor accused of teen rape - NewsFlash -

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