Victim: I Will Testify Against Court Counselor
NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — A sex assault victim said she’s ready to face her alleged attacker after a stunning development on Monday in a Manhattan courtroom.
The suspect — a former juvenile counselor — was set to walk free with a slap on the wrist until a judge said no deal.
“We found justice. We’re gonna go to trial and hopefully this guy gets locked up for a good amount of years,” 20-year-old “Ashley” told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
Ashley was relieved that the man accused of raping her five years ago didn’t escape the possibility of a jail term.
“The defendant’s egregious attempts to mitigate his own guilt are nothing short of appalling,” Judge Cassandra Mullen told the court.
Mullen called 47-year-old Tony Simmons a “predator” as she terminated a plea deal that prompted outrage, chants like “Rape is a real crime! Simmons should do real time!”
Back in September the judge accepted a deal that would have given Simmons probation for the rape of one teenage girl and the sex assault of two others, crimes committed while Simmons served as a juvenile court counselor.
But the judge scuttled the deal after reading comments Simmons made during a pre-sentencing interview — that the underage girls were willing sex partners.
“[Simmons] blames the victims, demonstrating a depravity that shocks the conscience of this court,” Mullen said.
After Simmons rejected her offer of three years in prison the judge tossed his guilty plea and set the case for trial.
“The wheels of justice are starting to turn in the right direction. This was an outrageous case to begin with. Probation was never appropriate in any way shape or form,” said Sonia Ossorio of the National Organization for Women.
Now there’s a challenge for this victim. Would she be ready to testify if Simmons goes to trial?
“If nobody else is going to step up in front of his face I definitely will,” Ashley said. “It’s not hard to speak the truth.”
Simmons is free on bond and due back in court next month.
Simmons’ attorney, Gregory Watford, said he is worried about a fair trial, claiming statements Simmons gave during the pre-sentence interview will help the prosecution.
A new plea deal with prison time remains a possibility.
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