Hearing in Rape Case Moved When Accuser Won't Testify
Brian Simmons is accused of raping girl in Glendon. In court Wednesday, she wouldn't answer questions, or even give her name.
In Septmeber, Brian Simmons was charged with raping an Easton teenager and then intimidating her family.
Like all defendants, he has the right to face his accuser.
But his preliminary hearing on these charges came to an abrupt halt Wednesday when the girl either wouldn't or couldn't face Simmons, 23, as he sat in the courtoom of District Judge Richard Yetter in Wilson.
She also refused to give her name or raise her hand to be sworn in or even look at or speak to the judge.
That left Yetter with a choice: either dismiss the case or postpone the hearing so the girl could tesify via video.
He chose the latter, which means Simmons' prelimary hearing will now be held Dec. 7 in Northampton County Court. Yetter made it clear that he will dismiss the charges if the girl still won't testify next week.
Defense attorney Mark Minotti had wanted the case dismissed and appeared frustrated by the girl's refusal to testify at a hearing that had already been continued twice.
"He's innocent, and he has the right to face his accuser," Minotti said of his client, who entered a not-guilty plea to both charges.
Assistant District Attorney Patricia Broscius said Wednesday was the first time she had spoken with the girl. Prosecutors had been unable to find her, which she said could have been the result of the alleged intimidation.
"We'e dealing with a victim who may not be able to express why she's fearful right now, but those fears are real," she said.
According to court records, Simmons, who court documents list as having addresses in Easton, Fountain Hill and Philadelphia, picked up the girl on the city's South Side on July 3.
They drove into Glendon, with Simmons asking the girl if she wanted to make some money. He pulled over onto Belmont Street, where police say he forced the girl to have sex.
The girl went home after the rape, court records say, and police were called.
Police also allege Simmons went to the girl's home in the West Ward and told her family members, "You better take care of this or I will," while also denying he had sex with the girl.