The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Mother of Molestation Victim Furious at Plea Deal Offered to Nativist Leader Simcox

By David Neiwert on September 23, 2013 - 11:01 am, Posted in Extremist Crime, Nativist Extremist

The mother of a young girl who claims she was molested by former Minuteman leader Chris Simcox says she’s outraged about a 10-year prison sentence being offered by Arizona prosecutors.

She’s raising questions about the handling of the case by Maricopa County Prosecutor Bill Montgomery’s office. Montgomery has a history of associating with Simcox politically, having spoken at a Minuteman event and participated in one of Simcox’s border watches.

As things stand, the offer of what seems to the victim’s mother like a sweetheart deal may not even be enough to entice Simcox to accept the arrangement. At his most recent court appearance, according to one report, he shook his head vigorously at the mention of a plea deal, appearing to reject it out of hand.

Under the deal, the original five Class 2 felony charges for child molestation and sexual conduct with a minor would be reduced to five charges of child molestation, and a Class 4 felony count for having shown pornography to a minor would be wiped away.

Michelle Lynch, whose daughter was allegedly molested repeatedly by Simcox when she was visiting his home with his own daughter of the same age, is most upset that Simcox could be out of prison in eight and a half years, at age 60 and still capable of harming children again. If Simcox’s case went to trial and he were convicted, he could well be sentenced to prison for life.

She told Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times that the bargain infuriated her. “Essentially, the prosecutor is saying [that once he gets out], they’ll just wait ’til he does it again,” Lynch said. “Then they’ll give him more time. Meanwhile, they’re creating more victims.”

Lynch said that her daughter continues to have nightmares about her ordeal – which included being molested every time she played with Simcox’s children – and fears Simcox might return to harm her. She is receiving counseling.

She is also outraged at the way evidence was handled in the case, particularly the fact that Phoenix detectives failed to seized Simcox’s computer – the one on which he allegedly showed Lynch’s daughter pornography. Prosecutors reportedly explained it away by saying that he was only watching adult porn, a legal activity, on the computer, and so no search warrant for it was ever issued.

All this is occurring within an office overseen by a conservative Republican with a history of dalliances with Chris Simcox and his Minuteman movement. As Lemons reported, the prosecutor – Bill Montgomery, a longtime ally of such Arizona nativists as Sheriff Joe Arpaio and ex-Senate president Russell Pearce – actually appeared at a fundraising event for the Minutemen with Simcox and gave a speech, and on another occasion took part in one of Simcox’s border watches.

Jerry Cobb, the spokesman for the Maricopa County prosecutor’s office, said in an interview with Hatewatch that there was little to no chance that Montgomery could affect the decision on whether to offer a plea bargain in a case like Simcox’s.

“The elected criminal attorney is not involved in any individual cases,” he said. “He doesn’t prosecute cases. He doesn’t approve every individual plea deal. And he doesn’t weigh in on individual prosecutorial decisions that are made. Our plea agreements are constructed based on office policy.”

Cobb also noted that victims and their families are frequently unhappy with plea deals but that such deals do prevent children from having to testify in court. He noted that in Arizona, the victims and their families have a right to address the court before a deal is accepted, and the court has the ability to reject a deal based on those objections.

Simcox is scheduled for a court hearing on Oct. 3. If he refuses the deal, his trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 27. Cobb said that case “is still postured to go to trial.”

  • Erika

    To know if there is favoritism going on, you’d have to look at plea bargains in other child molestation cases – 10 years does not sound like an out of line sentence for child molestation cases. And of course, as a convicted pedophile, he will likely receive very harsh treatment from other prisoners and the guards (realistically, there is a real chance he won’t make it a full decade, many convicted pedophiles die in prison). Alternatively, he will be placed in solitary confinement (which is torture) for his own protection. A sure 10 years of very hard time in hand is better than a life sentence – or a possible acquittal – in the bush.

    It is also important to remember that as a convicted pedophile there is a real possibility of civil commitment following the completition of the sentence. And even if not, he will likely be on probation for life requriing to register as a sex offender, avoid all contact with children, and likely receive sex offender therapy including lie detector and penile plystemograph testing. He will probably also face some degree of internet ban Any violation of those conditions will send him back to prison or to a state hospital for “treatment.”

    personally, i would probably support the sentence – many child molesters excape all punishment when the child victim is unable to testify under oath. Others escape following an aquittal. In addition, testimony at trial and facing cross examination is likely to be extremely traumatic for the victim and could result in additional psychological damage.

    yes, it would be nice to get this disgusting pervert locked up for life but given the heavy restrictions placed upon convicted child molesters and the fact that he is likely to receive extremely rough treatment from the guards and other prisoners, a ten year sentence does not seem out of line. Most sexual abuse of children cases end on plea deals because of the difficulty child witnesses have at testifying. Not to mention the risk of an acquittal – a conviction based upon the testimony of a child witness is far from a sure thing.

  • Reynardine

    These folks sure do like violating whatever they see as small, weak, or helpless, don’t they?… That is the prissily cruel expression of someone who would gain erotic release from pulling the wings off butterflies.

  • Aron

    Why the hell hasn’t the prosecutor recused himself? Can you say conflict of interest???