Gemase Lee Simmons guilty on all counts

The story of how Gemase Lee Simmons conned over a hundred young men and women (some of them minors) is long, complex, and at times very, very difficult to wrap your head around. But here's how Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery distilled it Monday: “It is a sordid tale of stolen money and, more tragically, stolen childhood innocence.” Less than three hours after Simmons took the stand Monday, Biery posted his verdict in the case, finding Simmons guilty on all 39 counts ranging from bank fraud to extortion and production, distribution, transportation and receipt of child porn. Given the seriousness of the charges, and the tone of Biery's opinion, Simmons, a wanna-be reality TV producer and bogus modeling agent, could very well spend the rest of his life in prison. Add today's verdict to the list of memorable orders Biery has penned, like his “Non-Kumbaya Order” during the Medina Valley prayer-in-schools case last year, or the poem he issued from the bench in the lawsuit over development over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. In his verdict Monday, Biery was both hilarious (the first time I've ever seen a federal judge write “LOL” as a footnote) and eloquent. Biery capped his four-page order saying, “Dante wrote of only nine circles of hell. Defendant's pervertedly cruel behavior created a tenth earthly level for the victims, including one who wanted 'out of this hell hole.'” Simmons' sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 10. Look to the Current next week for more on Simmons' strange case. For now, Biery's ruling should give you plenty to chew on. – Michael Barajas

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