FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
CORRECTED: FORMER JACKSON MISSISSIPPI POLICE OFFICER CONVICTED ON CIVIL RIGHTS CHARGES FOR RAPING WOMAN IN CUSTODY
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On March 1, 2005, the Justice Department announced the conviction of Maceo Simmons, a former Jackson, Mississippi police officer, on civil rights charges relating to the rape of a young woman in police custody.
Simmons was convicted of assaulting the teenage victim and willfully depriving her of her constitutional right to bodily integrity. The federal conviction for the September 19, 1999, sexual assault follows a 2001 state criminal trial in which the defendant and another officer were acquitted. In addition to finding the defendant guilty, the jury specified that it also found that the defendant’s conduct involved aggravated sexual abuse and caused bodily injury to the victim. These special findings raise the defendant’s maximum sentence to life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 20, 2005.
“The Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting law enforcement officers who misuse their position of trust to abuse those in their custody,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Behavior such as this undermines the tireless efforts of the vast majority of law enforcement officers throughout our nation who protect the public with professionalism and courage.”
Enforcing the criminal civil rights laws is a priority of the Civil Rights Division. Since October, the Division has convicted 20 individuals for violating the civil rights of others while acting under color of law.