Convicted Sex Offender Teacher Exhausts Appeal Rights

Abigail Simon wasn’t thinking about prison time when she began having sex with her 15-year-old student. The Grand Rapids Catholic Central school system hired Simon to tutor struggling athletes. Instead, she had sex with one. A jury convicted her. Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court rejected her final appeal.

Rather than accept a plea agreement that would have kept her in county jail, Simon claimed that she was the victim. She claimed that the 15-year-old scared her and slapped her. It wasn’t consensual, she said. Simon claimed that the only reason she kept communicating with the boy was that she was the victim of abuse on a prior occasion and she feared for her safety.

Simon’s maximum sentence is 25 years in prison. The jury found her guilty of having sex with the child as well as with accosting a child for immoral purposes. Despite Simon testifying at trial, the jury didn’t believe her account. The jury looked at text messages between the pair that included a photo of Simon in lingerie. Simon also violated a police order not to have contact with the child.

Because of Simon’s status as a sex offender, she’ll have lifetime monitoring once she’s released from prison. She says that a lifetime punishment is unfair. Prosecutors say that the sentence is appropriate given the allegations of the offense. The Court of Appeals agrees with the prosecutor. They say that lifetime monitoring doesn’t unduly restrict Simon’s ability to work or travel.

Simon’s family cried out in court as the jury read its verdict. The jury found Simon guilty on several counts and not guilty on one count. Simon appeared upset even before the jury read its verdict. Michigan’s criminal sexual conduct laws apply equally to both men and women.

The Michigan Supreme Court is the highest court in the State of Michigan. The refusal to hear Simon’s appeal exhausts Simon’s appeal rights. She may still ask for relief on other grounds such as newly discovered evidence. However, for now, it’s a prison cell for Simon.

At her sentencing, Simon said that she regretted not accepting the plea offer that would have kept her in only the county jail. She appeared unsteady on her feet. All she wanted was to crawl into her mother’s bed and stay there, she said. She also said that she would miss out on her sister’s wedding because of the conviction. Simon’s father is an attorney. Both of her parents are graduates of Notre Dame.

 

 

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