Yesterday, it was reported that admitted rapist Tony Simmons, a former Manhattan court juvenile counselor, had been given an insane plea deal and is expected to receive ten years probation and no jail time at sentencing next week. One of his victims, identified only by her first name Ashley, is understandably incredulous at the meager sentence—and she's making the rounds today, telling her story to the media.
Ashley was 15-years-old when she was due in Manhattan Family Court for filing a false police report—because she told police she did not know who had jumped and cut her on the way to school. Simmons, nickname Tyson, was in charge of escorting her from the holding area up an elevator to the hearing. In the elevator, Simmons instead took Ashley down to the basement, raped her, then brought her up to the court, as if nothing had happened. By her own account, she went numb as the rape happened, but became enraged soon after: "Ok, I've been raped and now I'm going to go sit in a court room and be sentenced?" She was found guilty, and given a 12-month sentence which later grew to nearly three years because she talked back to counselors, which she partially blames on residual anger over the rape.
Simmons pleaded guilty to raping Ashley, as well as sexually assaulting a different 15-year-old and a 16-year-old girl. Investigators also believe he may have raped a 13-year-old as well. Although statutory rape has a max penalty of four years, Simmons was only given a probationary sentence by Judge Cassandra Mullen: “He must have known somebody to get this special deal just for Tony Simmons, just for this disgusting human being he got this special plea deal,” Ashley told CBS.
According to Davis Bookstaver, spokesperson for the New York State court system, the blame rests on DA Cy Vance Jr, who didn't object to the sentencing: "[Judge Mullen] was told they had had problems proving a 5-year-old case...Judges rely on experts, in this case the DA's Office." But for his part, Vance chided Judge Mullen as "outrageously lenient" for giving Simmons probation. Everyone's willing to spread the blame, but Simmons seems to be on the verge of getting off the hook next Monday.