Black Collar Crime: Youth Pastor Ellis Simmons Arrested Again for Sex Crimes

ellis simmons

Youth pastor Ellis Simmons spent five years in prison for sexually molesting three girls ages seven to ten. Released in 2016, Simmons now faces new sexual abuse charges.

Tom Olsen, a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer, writes:

 

Prosecutors can move forward with the case against a former Duluth youth pastor accused of sexually abusing two girls more than a decade ago, a judge ruled recently.
Ellis William Simmons, 38, is accused of sexually assaulting two victims between approximately 2000 and 2005. He was charged with three felonies in June, shortly after being released from an Illinois prison where he was incarcerated for similar crimes that occurred after he left Duluth.

Sixth Judicial District Judge David Johnson in late October denied a defense motion seeking dismissal of the charges on the basis that they were barred by statute of limitations.

Simmons served as a pastor to the alleged victims and a babysitter for the family of at least one of the girls, according to a criminal complaint. The charging document indicates that one victim reported two incidents that occurred when she was 11 years old; the other reported an incident when she was 14.

Both alleged victims told police that they were sleeping when they awoke to sexual contact from Simmons, according to the charges. The contact allegedly included penetration.

While partial reports were made to law enforcement in the early 2000s, St. Louis County prosecutor Jon Holets said the victims only recently came forward with additional information — including, in one instance, Simmons’ name — that made charges possible.

Under Minnesota law, charges in child sexual abuse cases must be filed within nine years of the offense date or three years of the initial report to law enforcement, whichever comes later.

But Johnson noted in an eight-page order that the time requirements are suspended for any period of time when the defendant is not a resident of the state. The judge said evidence indicates that Simmons moved from Minnesota shortly after the reports were first made.

“The limitation time was tolled on September 12, 2005, leaving a little over four years before the statute of limitations ran out,” Johnson wrote of the oldest charge. “Because … Defendant never returned to Minnesota prior to being extradited from California to St. Louis County in July of 2017, the State has not violated the statute of limitations provision by filing charges.”

Simmons was released from an Illinois prison in December 2016 after serving nearly five years of a seven-year sentence for sexually abusing three girls ranging in age from 7 to 10.

….

In July of this year, I posted the following:

Ellis Simmons, former youth pastor of St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church and Calvary Baptist Church in Duluth, Minnesota, has been charged with “two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.” Simmons previously served five years in prison for sexually abusing other girls.

The Duluth News Tribune reports:

A former youth pastor who recently served five years in Illinois prison for sexually abusing several young girls is now facing similar charges stemming from a stint in Duluth more than a decade ago.

Ellis William Simmons, 38, is accused of assaulting two girls between 1999 and 2005, when he was living and working in Duluth. The girls were 11 and 14 years old at the time of the reported incidents.

Simmons was formally charged last month with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. If convicted, the most-serious charges each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

While the incidents were reported to police in the early 2000s, St. Louis County prosecutor Jon Holets said the victims only recently came forward with the alleged perpetrator’s name and other information that made charges possible.

“It still bothered them, and they realized what he had done in Illinois,” Holets said Monday. “It was their desire to continue coming forward (that led to charges).”

Simmons served as a pastor to the alleged victims and a babysitter for the family of at least one of the girls, according to a criminal complaint. The charging document indicates that one victim reported two incidents that occurred when she was 11 years old; the other reported an incident when she was 14.

Both alleged victims told police that they were sleeping when they awoke to sexual contact from Simmons, according to the charges. The contact allegedly included penetration.

Simmons served as a pastor at St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church and Calvary Baptist Church in Duluth, while also attending the College of St. Scholastica and the University of Minnesota Duluth, according to News Tribune articles from the time.

….

The decision by the alleged victims to provide additional information came around the same time Simmons was being released from prison in Illinois.

He was arrested in January 2012 and charged with sexually abusing three girls ranging in age from 7 to 10, according to a report in the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star. Simmons at the time was working at a juvenile detention center; authorities said the abuse was not related to his employment, but the victims were known to him.

Records indicate that Simmons was released from prison in December after serving nearly five years of a seven-year sentence. He was re-arrested in California after a warrant was issued in the Duluth case on June 19.

Simmons made an initial appearance in State District Court in Duluth last week. His bail was set at $300,000, and he remained in the St. Louis County Jail on Monday.

print

Subscribe to the Daily Post Digest!

Sign up now and receive an email every day containing the new posts for that day.

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Powered by Optin Forms

Leave a Comment

You have to agree to the comment policy.