Once prominent border security activist Christopher Allen Simcox, co-founder of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, plead not guilty on Wednesday to six felony charges related to child molestation. According to the Phoenix New Times, a probable cause statement filed by detectives in the case cited evidence that Simcox molested three children under the age of ten, including his own daughter. The 52-year-old former militiaman denies the accusations.
Simcox was arrested June 19 after being fired June 5 from his job at iMemories, a Phoenix company owned by Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey that transfers home movies from film and VHS to digital formats. The company said that Simcox was an “hourly employee” at the business and that his official duties never involved viewing films or still images involving children.
The Minutemen Civil Defense Corps rose to prominence in 2005 when Simcox and other vigilante border guards that they would do what the federal government could not do, stem the tide of undocumented crossings into the U.S. from Mexico. According to Stephen Lemons of the New Times, “There was a time when the space between Simcox and a TV camera would have been a dangerous spot. Reporters and documentary-makers flocked to him during and following the Minuteman Project’s big splash back in 2005.”
At his plea hearing, Simcox and his attorney, a public defender, asked the judge to remove the throng of media personnel from the courtroom. The judge denied the request.
The Minutemen were never able to make any real difference at the border in the short time before their ranks fragmented into squabbling factions, splintering and then splintering again. Internal struggles over dispersement of donated funds, leadership styles and overall mission left the resulting sub-groups in disarray.
Simcox left the Minutemen, then mounted a primary challenge against Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) in 2010. He later threw his weight behind talk show host and tea partier J. D. Hayworth against McCain, but left the campaign under a cloud when his soon-to-be-ex-wife accused him of assaulting her and threatening the family with a gun.
Alena Simcox obtained a court order of protection against her husband in April of 2010 that deemed him “a danger to his family” after a six-hour incident in which he held his wife and children at gunpoint and threatened to kill them and any police who came to their aid.
The New Times reported that the charges against Simcox include “two counts of molestation of a child, a class 2 felony; three for sexual conduct with a minor, a class 2 felony; and one for furnishing obscene or harmful items to children, a class 4 felony. The class 2 felonies are categorized as dangerous crimes against children, meaning that, hypothetically, at least, Simcox could face life in prison for just one of them, if found guilty.”
Watch video from earlier this summer about the charges against Simcox, embedded below via Digital Journal:
[hat-tip to Talking Points Memo]