A convicted sex offender from Bell will serve 20 to 40 years in a state prison for charges related to sexual contact with four girls ages 15 to 17.
In a rambling statement in court yesterday, Shawn Michael Simms disputed the extent of the physical contact he had with some of the victims, but told Westmoreland County President Judge John Blahovec he’d follow through on his general plea to 22 charges because he felt it was in his best interest.
Simms, 22, pleaded guilty in September to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, possession of child pornography and sexual abuse of children by photographing or videotaping sex acts involving people younger than 18.
State police said Simms had sex at various locations with girls from Latrobe, Derry, Slickville and Blairsville. Two were 15 years old, and the other two were 17.
Assistant District Attorney Leo Ciaramitaro told Blahovec that Simms’ pursuit of juveniles for sex began a week after his September 2008 parole in another case for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
“The defendant in this case, your honor, just doesn’t get it,” Ciaramitaro said. “He doesn’t understand the repercussions as a result of his actions.”
Herbert Hays, who reviewed the case for the Pennsylvania Sexually Violent Offenders Assessment Board, determined that Simms is a sexually violent offender, although Simms did not use force to make the girls have sex with him or ply them with alcohol.
Simms told Blahovec that he does not have an obsession with young girls, but the judge accepted the state board’s assessment and ordered him to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
One of Simms’ victims, now 17, said yesterday that she suffered depression because of her physical relationship with Simms.
“I’m afraid after he gets out that I’m the first person that he’ll come to,” she testified.