Police in Florida have arrested a 52-year-old former sheriff’s deputy for repeatedly physically abusing a disabled adult, and a severely disabled minor.
According to WFLA, Phillip Dale Simons was arrested and charged with multiple felonies. On May 19, the adult victim told Winter Haven, Florida, police that Simons repeatedly beat her with a walking stick that he called the “stupid stick.” She said that Simons’ threats that he would kill her if she ever went to the police kept her in constant fear for her life.
In addition to the adult victim, Simons is also charged with repeatedly beating a 15-year-old who lives in the home. That victim is severely disabled, and is under around the clock nursing care. According to police, Simons beat both the 15-year-old and the adult victim about the head and torso, as well as their arms and legs. He is also accused of grabbing the genitals of the minor victim in an aggressive manner.
The adult victim says that Simons would often go off on tirades for unknown reasons. Those tirades would be accompanied by physical abuse. Sometimes Simons would beat the victim with his hands, but most of the time the beatings were done with the “stupid stick.” He would also threaten them by waving guns around during his tirades, according to the victim.
On May 16, police say that Simons stuck the barrel of a handgun in the mouth of the adult victim and threatened to kill her. He told her that he would make the 15-year-old, as well as another minor that lives in the residence, watch.
Simons was arrested late on Tuesday when he returned home from work. Police say that when they entered the house, they found multiple weapons, including handguns, long guns, ammo, reloading equipment, knives and the “stupid stick.”
Simons is already a convicted felon. According to Baynews9, a Polk County Sheriff”s Department spokesperson said that Simons worked for the sheriff’s office from 1985 to 1988. He was terminated in September 1988 following his arrest on burglary, robbery and kidnapping charges. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Now, Simons faces a laundry list of new felony charges. Those include aggravated abuse of a disabled adult, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with a firearm and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Simons is also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon.
Gun nuts might argue that the beatings that Simons inflicted prove that people can hurt others with weapons other than guns. This is a sad situation, to be sure. But how much worse could it have been for the victims, had Simons decided to use one of his guns — guns that he wasn’t even entitled to legally possess? And how is it that people like Simons manage to get guns, anyway?
Featured image via Polk County Jail/WFLA