Imagine you’re a fifteen-year-old girl who, after reporting a crime to the police, was prosecuted for filing a false report because you didn’t identify the criminal. That may seem unfair enough, but then imagine that the juvenile officer who was supposed to escort you to the court room for your hearing instead took you into a basement and raped you with such an expertise and coldness, you not only got the sense that he’s done it before, but he seemed to believe it was his right because no one would believe you if you told anyway. And then, when he finished victimizing you, a teenager who already has enough problems, he casually takes you into the courtroom as if nothing at all had happened.
Terrible enough, right? It gets worse.
After your hearing, you’re sentenced to 12 months in juvenile detention for this minor crime. Later, when more victims come out against this juvenile officer/rapist who sexually assaulted many young girls in similar situations, he pleads guilty to his crimes, but doesn’t spend a day in jail. Instead, he gets off on probation. How would you feel about the justice system?
This may sound like a Law and Order plot, but it’s the reality for one now 20-year-old Manhattan woman who was attacked at age 15 by Tony Simmons, a 42-year-old juvenile counselor who, on September 27, 2010, was found guilty on one account of rape and two additional accounts of sexual assault, as reported by the New York Daily News. While as a teenager this woman had to serve 12 months for the crime of falsifying a police report, an adult who abused his authority by raping teenage girls, harming them physically, mentally and emotionally, gets off on a sentence of probation.
If this isn’t an injustice, I don’t know what is. Not only is it unfair to these victims, girls who now have absolutely no reason to believe in the protection from our so-called “justice system”, but it’s unfair to every person who’s been the victim of a sexual crime. This sends the message that someone can be so completely brutal, attacking the very people who they’re supposed to help, people who are expected to trust them because of their position under the law, and get a slap on the wrist while the victims suffer for life.
Tony Simmons deserves jail time. Ten years probation is too light a sentence for a man who was by law entrusted to safely transport and assist these teens and instead raped and left them traumatized.
The National Organization for Women is sponsoring a Rally to Take Rape Seriously that will occur in New York City on 111 Centre Street, Tuesday, November 9th, from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. Anti-violence organizations around NYC will join together to ask Justice Cassandra Mullen, the justice who gave the probation sentence, to give Tony Simmons jail time. If you will be in the NYC area on this date and are interested in attending, visit this Facebook event page for more information.
If you’re not going to be in the area, you can still help. The National Organization for Woman is collecting signatures on an online petition to prove the vast amount of people supporting jail time for this criminal. To show your support and sign the petition, click here.
There is a great deal of injustices in our world. Many people chose to overlook them in an attempt to protect their worldviews, but they shouldn’t be cast aside as too scary to face or believe. This ignorance does nothing to improve our society and just allows such wrongs to flourish. So we all have a choice; we can either pretend incidents like this will never affect us or our loved ones or we can demand justice, the kind we’ve always been promised, for these young victims by making our voices heard about this obvious violation of human rights.
Michael Daly, Teen Gets 12 Month Sentence for Minor Offense and Thug gets Probation for Raping Her, New York Daily News