Flagler Jail Inmates Charged With Lewdness For Masturbating During GED Class
FlaglerLive | February 24, 2015
James Simmons, a 40-year-old resident of Palm Coast’s P-Section, was incarcerated at the Flagler County jail last March on more than a dozen charges and warrants, including drug possession, drunk driving, fleeing and eluding police and assault. On Saturday, yet another charge was added to his rap sheet: lewd and lascivious exhibitionism, stemming from his allegedly masturbating during a GED class at the jail.
Simmons was reported by his 53-year-old teacher, whose identity was withheld.
The victim told an investigating Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy that she was conducting a Graduate Equivalency Diploma class for adult education at the jail the morning of Saturday, in a class that started at 10 a.m. and was scheduled to run until noon. About 15 minutes into the class, she noticed that Simmons “had his penis out of his jail jumpsuit and was masturbating.”
The teacher said she “turned her back and continued to teach the class,” then notified jail staff in a letter as she was leaving. She said she suspected Simmons had done the same thing in previous classes “because his hand was always under the table, but she never witnessed him masturbating until” Saturday.
A jail commander interviewed the victim at her home. When a deputy reviewed the surveillance camera at the jail, the video showed Simmons at a table in the room, with the victim in front of him. His right hand was on the table, his left under the table “in a stroking motion,” staying there, and remaining in a stroking motion, for most of the class.
“I then checked the area where James was sitting and noticed an unknown substance on the floor in front of where James was sitting,” the deputy reported. “The jail staff advised the floors in that room were cleaned the night before and no one entered the room before or after the class.”
Simmons agreed to talk with the deputy about the incident, but his statement is redacted from the report, in accordance with Florida law, which exempts self-incriminating statements from the Sunshine law.
Simmons faces numerous second and third-degree felonies from previous incidents. The new charge specifically addresses a lewd act in the presence of an employee at a prison or jail, addressing intentional masturbation specifically. It’s a third-degree felony.
Correction: an earlier version of this story had misstated Simmons’s age as 21.