Juvenile Justice Counselor Found Guilty of Sex Assaults
A former city juvenile justice counselor was convicted Friday of sexually assaulting two teen girls under his care in a courthouse, but was acquitted of charges of raping a third girl. Tony Simmons’ accusers testified that Mr. Simmons, 47, abruptly began fondling them after taking them aside in the Manhattan Family Court building. At the time, they were 15 and 16 (NYLJ, Dec. 8, 2008).
The case sparked an outcry from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. and women’s rights activists after Mr. Simmons pleaded guilty to rape and other charges in September and was promised 10 years probation and no jail. Acting Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen rescinded the deal last month because she said Mr. Simmons had shown a “disturbing lack” of remorse during an interview with the Probation Department. Mr. Simmons went to trial before Acting Justice Carol Berkman (See Profile).
Mr. Simmons preyed on girls who had problems—one an admitted prostitute, another the daughter of a gang-member mother—and figured they would not tell, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Evan Krutoy argued. But Mr. Simmons’ lawyer, Gregory Watford, told jurors the women’s accounts were tainted by ulterior motives. He said that two were desperate to get out of juvenile facilities and a third hoped for a big payday from a lawsuit against the city. “This case is all about credibility,” Mr. Watford told jurors in his summation Thursday.
Mr. Simmons was convicted of two counts of committing a criminal sexual act in the second degree, a Class E felony; five counts of second degree sexual abuse, a class A misdemeanor; and five counts of third-degree sexual abuse, a class B misdemeanor. He faces up to four years in prison on the top charge, one year on the class A misdemeanors and 90 days on the class B misdemeanors. He was acquitted of two charges of third-degree rape related to an incident in an elevator. — Associated Press
Sentence Vacated So Prisoner Can Seek Heart Transplant
A Nassau County judge has vacated the 15-month jail sentence of a woman who, her doctors say, has less than six months to live if she cannot obtain a heart transplant. District Court Judge Francis Ricigliano (See Profile) vacated the sentence of Diane McCloud, 47, on Thursday, on the condition she take all the necessary steps to obtain a new heart, which include the testing for eligibility, waiting on a transplant list and undergoing anti-rejection treatment should she find a donor. The judge let stand the two petit larceny guilty counts against Ms. McCloud and will re-sentence her if she has a successful transplant.
Leonard B. Isaacs of Valley Stream, who represents Ms. McCloud, moved to vacate the sentence and re-plead guilty to two counts of petit larceny in Jan. 18 court papers. The motion included affirmations on Ms. McCloud’s condition from her doctor. “It was a basic question of whether she was going to live or die,” Mr. Isaacs said in an interview. He credited the judge’s decision and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office for their cooperation, given the circumstances. “All sides came together to try to save this woman’s life,” Mr. Isaacs said. He said Ms. McCloud was brought to the Mineola courtroom from the Nassau University Medical Center prison ward, where she was wheeled into open court through the prisoner entrance, escorted by correctional personnel and a nurse. She was attached to an IV-drip that helped her heart pump. Ms. McCloud is now at Nassau University Medical Center. Mr. Isaacs said she now must undergo tests to see if she is eligible to be put on the donor list. “This is just the beginning of her major ordeal,” he said.
Ms. McCloud was convicted of stealing almost $2,400 in merchandise from Westbury Target in December 2009 and more than $1,500 from the same store early the next month. Assistant District Attorney Dana Boylan handled the prosecution. — Andrew Keshner
Personal Notes on Lawyers
• Albany County public defender Peter Torncello will succeed Mark S. Ochs this week as chief attorney for the Committee on Professional Standards, the lawyer disciplinary agency for the Appellate Division, Third Department. Mr. Ochs retired late last year. Mr. Torncello, 49, a former Albany County district attorney, has been county public defender since 2007.
• Capital markets attorney Christine Spletzer has joined Winston & Strawn as of counsel in the real estate practice. She was a partner at Duval & Stachenfeld, where she co-chaired the structured finance strategies practice group.
• Neil M. Kaufman has joined Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Greenberg, Formato & Einiger as a partner and chairman of its corporate department. Mr. Kaufman, who represents public companies, private companies and investment firms in their corporate, securities, financing, borrowing, and merger and acquisitions, was a partner and the chairman of the corporate department at Davidoff Malito & Hutcher.
• Jeffrey Goldberg, a senior trial counsel at the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office, has been detailed to Washington, D.C., where he will serve as a senior trial attorney in the U.S. Justice Department’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit.
• K&L Gates has promoted two New York lawyers to the partnership: Angela DiGiglio and Kirsten Alford Kneis. Both members of the toxic tort/product liability practice, Ms. DiGiglio litigates asbestos claims and Ms. Kneis defends a variety of complex toxic tort cases with particular focus in the asbestos area.
• Ruskin Moscou Faltischek has promoted Daniel L. McAuliffe to counsel. He is a member of the financial services, banking and bankruptcy and corporate and securities departments.
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