Last week, many were outraged over the case of Tony Simmons, who was sentenced to no prison time and 10 years' probation after admitting to raping three teenage girls who were left in his care while he was working as a counselor at the Department of Juvenile Justice. People were especially shocked that the judge who gave the sentencing is a woman. Today, Judge Cassandra Mullen tossed out the previous deal, saying, "This defendant does not admit his guilt, and more alarming, has no understanding that his conduct was wrong. And perhaps most outrageously blames the victims, demonstrating a depravity that shocks the conscience of this court."
Mullen offered Simmons three years in state prison and three years of probation if he pleaded guilty, and insisted that her new decision had nothing to do with the media. “The court wants to make perfectly clear that it is not and will never be influenced by the presentations of any media outlets," she said. Instead, she said her decision was based on statements Simmons made in pre-trial reports, namely that he admitted he only pleaded guilty to "make the charges go away," that the sex was consensual, and that one of his victims reportedly thanked him afterward. Simmons' lawyer said the new punishment is a "lose-lose proposition." Simmons refused to accept the deal or withdraw his plea, leaving the judge to vacate the original guilty plea.
Everyone from women's advocates to Simmons's victims were happy that Mullen changed her mind about letting him go without jail time. “Ten years probation. I couldn’t believe it,” said victim Ashley, who was 15 when Simmons raped her. “Everything about being a kid, and being a teenager, he took all of that away.” OW-NYC Executive Director Sonia Ossorio told NY1, "I mean, this is a man who was in charge of, his job was, taxpayers paid him to protect young, troubled teens. And he was taking advantage of them. He was raping them. I mean, it doesn't get much worse than that."