Christopher Simcox, who co-founded the now-disbanded Minuteman Civil Defense Corps white supremacist militia group, received a prison sentence of over 19 years today from an Arizona court.
He was charged with the sexual abuse of multiple children and convicted of sexually molesting a girl who was five at the time. He was also convicted of showing the 5-year-old pornography.
The case drew the Supreme Court's attention when Simcox, acting as his own attorney, demanded to interrogate the child victim himself in court. He was denied, for obvious reasons.
Simcox is 55, and was found guilty last month. The child he molested was a friend of his 6-year-old daughter. He was divorced, and the acts he was charged with took place in 2012 and 2013, during scheduled visits at his apartment. The 5-year-old girl told her mother what had happened to her, and mom called law enforcement.
Before and after his high-profile career as a freelance white supremacist hate militia leader, Simcox worked as a school teacher with children around that age. How many other victims might there be?
His conviction followed a four-week trial in which all three of his daughters by two different marriages testified against him, and claimed he had either molested them or had attempted to while caring for them.
From May coverage of that portion of the trial by the Phoenix New Times:
Two of the daughters who took the stand are under the age of 10. Both are his children with ex-wife Alena Simcox; one of them alleges sexual abuse. The third daughter is an adult, his child from a previous marriage, who alleges that Simcox molested her on three different occasions when she was young.
In addition, the jury heard from another girl under 10: a playmate of Simcox's younger daughters, who alleges that Simcox bribed her with candy to show him her privates.
What a guy.
Speaking to reporters after today's sentencing, this victim's mother said the girl has not talked much about the abuse, but is supported by her family. She recently asked her daughter if she wanted to make a victim impact statement for the sentencing.
"The only thing she said was, 'He messed with the wrong family,' " the victim's mother said.
Asked of her thoughts on Simcox, the mother said she viewed him "in the same way I would view anybody who did what he did to my child. I'm glad he's gone."
Simcox first became publicly known in the mid-2000s, as a voice against the immigration of Mexican and Central Americans into Arizona, a state with many predominantly Latino and Native American communities.
With other white supremacists and militant white nativists, he co-founded the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. The Minutemen urged fellow white Americans to form armed civilian defense squads to militarily defend the southern border of the United States. He later ran a brief campaign to unseat senator John McCain (R-AZ).
Minuteman Project leaders said their volunteers are "white Martin Luther Kings," but their anti-immigration campaigns were marked by weaponry, military maneuvers and racist talk, as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported ten years ago, when Simcox was at the height of his fame and power.
From the New York Times:
In a statement on Monday, the Maricopa County attorney, Bill Montgomery, said the 19-and-a-half-year sentence involved two counts of molestation of a child and one count of furnishing obscene materials to a minor.
"The defendant committed unconscionable acts against a young child, the emotional and psychological effects of which she'll have to deal with her entire life," Mr. Montgomery said. He added that the sentence "won't take back the harm he has done, but it removes the opportunity for him to prey on another child."
Simcox was also charged with sexually abusing another girl, who was five, but was found not guilty of those charges.
From the Arizona Republic:
Maricopa County prosecutor Yigael Cohen was the only one to make a statement before the sentencing. Cohen had asked for the sentences to run consecutive to each other, which would have tacked on another 17 years.
It was clear from Simcox's pre-sentence report that he wasn't willing to take responsibility for what he had done, Cohen said. Instead, Simcox "made up a story" to explain why the victim was upset with him and would have motive to implicate him, Cohen said.
"He is not to be trusted within society. He is not to be trusted with children," Cohen said. "He should be kept away from children for as long as possible."
Again, from the Times:
Simcox was a high-profile advocate of tougher control of borders and undocumented day laborers. He was a founder of a volunteer armed watch group, Civil Homeland Defense, which was created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and which intercepted undocumented immigrants crossing into Arizona, turning them over to the authorities.
Later, he helped form the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, which stepped into the national spotlight in 2005 with its border patrols. In 2012, Mr. Simcox told the Southern Poverty Law Center, which was investigating the possible involvement of extremist groups in the killings of Mexicans crossing the Arizona border, that he had left the movement and was living a quiet life tutoring schoolchildren in suburban Phoenix.
From the SPLC's reporting on the Minutemen, back in 2005:
The Minuteman Project was the brainchild of two fathers: Jim Gilchrist, a retired accountant and Vietnam veteran from Orange County, California, and Chris Simcox, a former kindergarten teacher at a private school in Brentwood, Calif., who left his job and his family, moved to Tombstone, Ariz., and refashioned himself into a brash anti-immigration militant following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Before the Minuteman Project began, Gilchrist and Simcox repeatedly claimed they had recruited more than 1,300 volunteers. But when their plan lurched into action on April Fool's Day in Tombstone, fewer than 150 volunteers actually showed up, and they were clearly outnumbered on the Wild West movie-set streets by a swarm of reporters, photographers, camera crews, anti-Minuteman protesters, American Civil Liberties Union legal observers, and costumed gunfight show actors.
On the whole, the Minuteman Project's enlistees were nearly all white. This wasn't surprising, except that Gilchrist and Simcox also claimed prior to April 1 that a full 40% of their volunteers would be minorities, including, according to their Web site, "American-Africans," "American-Mexicans," "American-Armenians," four paraplegics and six amputees.
The Minutemen were legitimized by the vocal political support of anti-immigrant politicians, long before a wall on the US-Mexico border was a twinkle in Donald Trump's squinty little eyes.
Speaking at a Minutemen gathering a decade ago, former Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) once told the militia members that each of them stood for 100,000 likeminded Americans who couldn't afford to participate. He applauded Gilchrist and Simcox as "two good men who understand we must never surrender our right as citizens to do our patriotic duty and defend our country … and stop this invasion ourselves."
Tom Tancredo is a big fan of GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump.