A mental health counsellor has been charged with sexually assaulting an inmate at the Kent County Correctional Facility while she was treating him at the jail.
The charges come in the wake of a federal lawsuit filed by the 33-year-old inmate, claiming that Theresa Lyn Simmons, 43, of Wyoming, sexually abused him and called him her "personal sex slave."
Simmons, a social worker who is not a county employee but with whom the jail contracted to counsel inmates with mental health issues, was charged Aug. 5 in Grand Rapids District Court with second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Simmons was Treating Inmate for Schizophrenia
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the alleged sex acts occurred on multiple occasions during January 2022.
"Theresa Simmons while employed as a third-party contractor at the Kent County Jail... engaged in sexual contact (with an inmate). (The victim) told investigators that he received sexual favors from Theresa Simmons. Some of those acts were described (by the victim) as being handjobs," a detective wrote in the affidavit.
The lawsuit, filed in March, claims Simmons violated her alleged victim's constitutional rights by subjecting him to "manipulative mental abuse, excessive sexual abuse, frequent sexual assaults," and bribes to entice him to perform sexual acts. The inmate claims he was undergoing counselling from Simmons for schizophrenia when he was sexually abused by her.
In the handwritten lawsuit, which is seeking $250,000 in damages, the inmate refers to Simmons as a "mental health sheriff" that he first encountered after he was sent to "the Hole."
Graphic Details of Sexual Encounters Mentioned in the Lawsuit
"I talked to THERESA SIMMONS several times one day she gave me some writing paper with a short letter that said, 'MAMA wants to see your BBC everytime I come to visit with you my king," the inmate wrote in graphic detail. "I didn't know what I was supposed to do."
The inmate claimed Simmons would sometimes "knock on my door with her breasts exposed ... so when I wake up her breasts are the first thing I see." He then gave a detailed description of the defendant's nipples and a tattoo "above her right breast."
"In mid October early Nov she wrote me a letter telling me its ok for me to show her my penis, and that she was tired of her husband and his missionary sex. And that her vagina is dripping wet everytime she see's me. And that I have to start doing as MAMA says," court documents said.
"She would also write me and tell me she wants to 'fuck the shit out of me.' She would also tell me she can loose [sic] her license for telling me that. But I don't understand what a drivers license has to do with sex," the inmate wrote.
Simmons Allegedly Gave Victim Weed, Coke, Cigarettes in Exchange for Sexual Favors
The lawsuit claims Simmons would provide the inmate with weed, coke, cigarettes and vapes if he did as she said. "And I have to start fingering her wet pussy through a hole in her pants while she stands at my door," he wrote. So I would do as she says and finger her vagina."
According to the lawsuit, the inmate's anxiety attacks had worsened and the voices in his head were louder due to the alleged abuse. "I feel really used and disgusting; I feel horrible and embarrassed. I feel ashamed some people have laugh (sic) at me. And this new voice in my head tells me she wants me to kill myself," he wrote.
"She doesn't love me and was only tricking me because I hear things and see things and I have been to pine rest mental hospital before... she was tricking me because I'm easy to be tricked," he wrote.
Victim Claims Jail Staff Ignored His Complaints
The inmate wrote that he wanted to file a complaint against Simmons but jail staff did not respond to his "kites" (notes). "I would write many kites asking for grievances because I was unsure any other way to tell on her because I was already in the Hole and I didn't want to get in more trouble for telling on a staff member," he wrote.
A letter to the plaintiff dated April 27 acknowledged the "kites" and grievances and informed the plaintiff that evidence was found to substantiate his claims. Simmons is currently being held at Ionia County Jail and her bond has been set at $15,000. She has hearings upcoming on Aug. 30 and Sept. 6.