Yesterday, Judge Cassandra Mullen tossed out a deal that would have given admitted rapist Tony Simmons 10 years probation, replacing it with one that would give him three years in prison. She says she did so because of statements Simmons allegedly made in pre-trial reports, such as saying one of the teenage victims told him, "'Thanks, I needed that,'— like she enjoyed it," after he attacked her.
Mullen vacated the plea deal when Simmons refused to accept the deal or withdraw his plea, and he now faces trial again. Mullen said the statements Simmons made were "predatory and opportunistic," including one where he said his victim had been "flirting" with him. Simmons had been working as a counselor at the Department of Juvenile Justice, and is accused of raping three teenage girls while he was chaperoning them around the courthouse. The judge said, "The defendant's attempts to mitigate his behavior are nothing short of appalling...He seems to think he did the victims a favor."
David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the state’s Office of Court Administration, defended Mullen's change of heart, which she said had nothing to do with outside pressure to put an admitted serial rapist in prison. "While much was made of this case over the past several weeks," Bookstaver said, "the fact is, sentencing hadn’t yet taken place and couldn’t take place until there had been a thorough review of the probation report, which the judge felt was very damaging." Simmons's attorney also said, "The DA concededly has problems with witness credibility, and with witness recollection."