Just an absolutely outrageous case of "justice" in New York City -- a teenaged girl gets jail time for lying, while a man who raped her as she was on the way to her sentencing gets probation for his heinous act.
According to a report in the New York Daily News, this all started in 2005 when a 15-year-old girl named Ashley (her last name is being withheld) was being escorted to court by a juvenile counselor to be sentenced for lying to police in an assault case.
The counselor, Tony Simmons, took the handcuffed girl into an elevator where he pulled down her pants and raped her. After it was done, and the elevator was going back up, Ashley said Simmons put his finger to his mouth, the universal sign to keep quiet.
"I was very scared," Ashley said. "I was terrified. He was a very large man."
Moments later, Ashley was in court and was sentenced to a year in jail. She said she was too shocked to report the attack.
"I knew I was just raped. I knew it wasn't supposed to happen," she recalled. "I didn't think anybody would believe me."
Meanwhile, Simmons, who worked as a counselor with New York City's Department of Juvenile Justice for 16 years, was free to prey on teenagers. But that all came to an end in 2008 when another 15-year-old came forward to say Simmons sodomized her in a holding area. Investigators believe the assaults began a decade ago, with an attack on a 13-year-old in the same holding area.
"Just the tip of the iceberg," Assistant District Attorney Amir Vonsover said in 2008, when Simmons was indicted for three sex assaults.
Vonsover talked tough back then, but something happened over the past couple of years. In court last week Simmons agreed to plead guilty to raping Ashley and sexually assaulting two other girls. His punishment? -- 10 years probation.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance blasted the judge for the "outrageously lenient" sentence. It was the lightest punishment that could be given under sentencing guidelines.
However, the court transcript shows Vonsover offered no objection to the sentencing. He claims he did during an off-the-record sidebar. Court sources say Vonsover went so far as giving Simmons his cell phone to call relatives before taking the plea.
While Ashley and her family are angry with Vonsover for making the plea deal and accepting the sentencing, they do blame the judge to some extent. As Ashley's mother-in-law said, "I'm a nurse. If a doctor gives a wrong prescription, do I give it or do I question it?"
Ashley once believed so much in Vonsover, she named her baby son after him.
Now 20 and married, Ashley is moving on from her nightmare. She got her GED and is enrolled in a professional program at a prestigious university.
"It's awesome! It's beautiful!" she said.