/ Modified jul 10, 2015 9:08 a.m.

Can Child Molesting Suspect Question Accusers?

Prosecutors say former Minutemen leader will further traumatize young witnesses.



The trial of former Minuetemen leader Chris Simcox could set a new legal precedent in Arizona.

Simcox was accused in 2013 of molesting three children between the ages of 5 and 6. The trial began in April 2015 in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Simcox has chosen to represent himself in court.

Two of the children will testify in the case. At stake is whether the court will allow Simcox to cross-examine the children. Prosecutors say that violates Arizona’s Victims’ Rights Bill, which gives victims the choice to refuse questioning by a defendant or the defendant’s attorney, especially if the possibility of intimidation or abuse is present.

Jerry Cobb is the public information officer for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. He said the circumstances of this case are unique.

“These are victims who are very young, who are also witnesses we are calling to testify," Cobb said.

"Our position is that having the defendant personally cross-examine these victims will subject them to the same type of manipulation that we believe he engaged in when he perpetrated the alleged acts," he said.

In a letter to the judge, a mother of one of the victims said her daughter has "panic attacks and nightmares" since the alleged molestation.

The case is due back in court July 23.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona