Delaware Deputy Attorney General Charged with Rape of Teen He Met on Grindr

Daniel simmonsDaniel Simmons, 34, a deputy attorney general for the state of Delaware, has been accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy, New Castle County Police Officer Tracey Duffey said.

The News Journal reports that the investigation began in March after police learned of the incident involving the teen, who Simmons met through the social media app Grindr.

Simmons was charged with four counts of fourth-degree rape. He has been placed on administrative leave and police are asking anyone with information about him or other victims to contact New Castle County Police Department.

The paper adds:

As state Attorney General, Beau Biden in 2007 established the state Child Predator Unit within the Attorney General's Office with investigators who concentrated on proactively identifying child predators over the internet, while aggressively investigating and prosecuting traditional crimes against children.

Biden has issued no comments on the charges.

Comments

  1. Lucca says

    How was this 16 year old able to use grindr? Its terms of service state no one under 18 years of age may use the service and no photos of anyone under 18 may appear on grindr.

    I understand security is not perfect and if the 16 year old lied in order to have access there’s not much anyone can do. It appears the 16 year old waded into waters a bit too deep ignoring all the warning signs.

    Also, it’s not a social media app; it’s a socially sexual media app.

  2. Nate says

    In Delaware, this wouldn’t actually be rape if it was consensual and if the A. General was under 30. But, because he is 34 it is. Seems like a weird law.

  3. HadenoughBS says

    As a deputy attorney general, “precaution”, especially in the case of young men, should have been his guide. If not, woe unto Mr. Simmons for accepting the word of a 16 year old.

  4. Ted says

    @Jay…”Right, lets blame the 16 year old for a mature man’s lack of good judgement. ” How would he know if this person was 16, 18, 76? He wouldn’t. Here’s a shocker…people lie.
    Second of all, why is a 16 y/o on the Grindr app to begin with???

  5. Lucca says

    No one is blaming the 16 year old; it’s merely a question of intent. What was he on grindr for? What is anyone on grindr for? It’s not as if the 34 year old man started flirting over facebook, instagram, or snapchat; it was grindr, which is used for the potential of a physical encounter.

  6. Gregory In Seattle says

    @Nate – The age of consent in Delaware (and 11 other states) is 18. By statute (Delaware Code, Title 11, § 770), “intentionally engaging in sexual intercourse with someone who is less than 18 years of age where the defendant is 30 years of age or older” is fourth degree rape, a Class C felony. Each count of a Class C felony can result in up to 15 years in prison.

    Unfortunate, but statutory rape is a crime.

  7. Rafael says

    TED, like everyone else, the 16 year old was surely on grindr either to meet people, to hook up, to chat, or just out of curiosity. I don’t expect he was on grinder to be raped.

  8. Paul R says

    A 16 yo can look 18 or 21 or even 25, especially in the right light. If these two met and the teen consented to it, I don’t consider it a crime. The missing details are whether he’s being charged with sexual assault and rape merely because the kid is 16–but it would have been fine if the kid was 18. If it was consensual sex, then yes the assistant DA is a chicken hawk. But if the kid lied (especially with proof), the asst. DA is not solely to blame.

    Teens lie to be older all the time—to drink, to be attractive to older people, to enlist in the military for chrissakes. Too many details are unknown here. Did the 16 yo press charges? Was the sexual contact forced? Was the kid restrained or threatened? If the answers are no, or if he only pressed charges after he spread the news about what happened, then I’m sorry if he feels remorse. But it all depends on those issues.

    I sound like a pedophile when in fact I have zero interest in men (or boys) under 30, maybe 28. (And I’m 42.) But do you remember being 16? Or even 14? Do you remember being gay and really wanting to have sex but not having anyone to do it with? Do you think those urges are about 50 times as powerful and easy to realize when sex is available through an app in the palm of your hand and your parents let you drive or at least leave the home?

    I slept with older men (meaning maybe 10 years older) on several occasions in my teens, and not one had any idea how old I was. Lot of kids I know—gay and straight, male and female—were a lot worse than I was. Kids aren’t braindead idiots until the day they turn 18. Luckily these days they even know about safe sex. (Though we all know that plenty of people much older know about it and ignore it.)

    That said, if the asst. DA is a hypocritical rapist who targets underage kids, he deserves severe punishment.

  9. Paul R says

    A 16 yo can look 18 or 21 or even 25, especially in the right light. If these two met and the teen consented to it, I don’t consider it a crime. The missing details are whether he’s being charged with sexual assault and rape merely because the kid is 16–but it would have been fine if the kid was 18. If it was consensual sex, then yes the assistant DA is a chicken hawk. But if the kid lied (especially with proof), the asst. DA is not solely to blame.

    Teens lie to be older all the time—to drink, to be attractive to older people, to enlist in the military for chrissakes. Too many details are unknown here. Did the 16 yo press charges? Was the sexual contact forced? Was the kid restrained or threatened? If the answers are no, or if he only pressed charges after he spread the news about what happened, then I’m sorry if he feels remorse. But it all depends on those issues.

    I sound like a pedophile when in fact I have zero interest in men (or boys) under 30, maybe 28. (And I’m 42.) But do you remember being 16? Or even 14? Do you remember being gay and really wanting to have sex but not having anyone to do it with? Do you think those urges are about 50 times as powerful and easy to realize when sex is available through an app in the palm of your hand and your parents let you drive or at least leave the home?

    I slept with older men (meaning maybe 10 years older) on several occasions in my teens, and not one had any idea how old I was. Lot of kids I know—gay and straight, male and female—were a lot worse than I was. Kids aren’t braindead idiots until the day they turn 18. Luckily these days they even know about safe sex. (Though we all know that plenty of people much older know about it and ignore it.)

    That said, if the asst. DA is a hypocritical rapist who targets underage kids, he deserves severe punishment.

  10. RKL says

    The right wing religious conservative will have a field day with this. Gay men have to use a higher level of scurtiny in these situations otherwise we become foder for hyprocrites and bigots who will say “I told you so.”

  11. Kim says

    If you choose to have sex with teenagers than you run the risk of having sex with people that are under age .Now this idiot has lost his job, probably will be convicted, and may lose his law license.Was the sex worth it? Every teenager has lied about his or her age.As adults you have to use your head when you have so much to lose

  12. Louinlarchmont says

    Hypothesis: You’re 34 years old and you go to a bar. You pick someone up. You have sex. The following day your date screams rape and produces his real ID (as opposed to the fake one he used to get into the bar) to the police showing his age to be 16.

  13. The Milkman says

    Yeah I dunno. On the one hand, this attorney should know better than to troll for teenagers, legal or not, on the interwebs. But on the other hand, I rather doubt a 16 year old who independently signed on to Grindr and hooked up with a dude on his own volition, without coercion, is gonna be particularly scarred by this event. I’d imagine the complaint was made by the kid’s parents. This isn’t to say that any part of this was okay, but it’s hardly sounding like a case of some creepy dude forcing himself on someone. The 16 year old bears some of the culpability here.

  14. JMC says

    Paul R – the complete lack of rationality and good sense you described is the exact reason statutory rape laws exist. Anyone who remembers what it’s like to be a teenager should support these laws.. unless they’re a creep. Seriously, what’s your point? Teenagers have no control over their urges so old dudes should just be able to take advantage of that without condemnation? You’re gross.

    Given the charges I’m sure this guy was fully aware the kid was underage.

  15. Merv says

    I have a real problem with calling consensual sex with a 16 year old rape. It shouldn’t be illegal in the first place, but even if it is, it shouldn’t be called rape. That word should be reserved to cases where there is force, coercion, or genuine lack of informed consent. None of those apply to a willing and eager 16 year old.

  16. jamal49 says

    “Innocent” surely in this case becomes subjective. A 16-year old on grindr seems to me to be pretty clear about what he wants and what he’s going after. ID means nothing. ID can be faked. Everyone is a victim here. Sounds to me like the idiot “older man” didn’t pay up or buy the kid that new pair of sneakers or whatever promises were made. Too bad for everyone involved.

  17. theo says

    The teen’s mindset is absolutely irrelevant in this case.

    This is a deputy attorney general. He knew the law and is (presumably) smart enough to apply that law to his libido, but failed to do so.

    Victim-blaming on this site is out of control, and none of us should be excusing this when the child clearly could not consent.

  18. Paul R says

    JMC: thanks, I’d completely forgotten that all charges are equivalent to guilt and that you know every detail of this case.

    How old does the asst. DA look to you? To me he looks like a college student. News flash: high school students and college students sleep with each other all the time. How old does the teenager (who obviously said he was at least 18) look to you? Oh wait, you have no idea.

    I hope that you’re not a parent, because you dramatically underestimate how clever, cunning, manipulative, and horny some teens are. If you were a gay teen in New Castle County, Delaware, and felt that you were ready to have sex, does that mean you shouldn’t? Maybe. But guess what? Teens have sex. Gay teens don’t have tons of sexual outlets. Both parties are in the wrong to some degree, but given what’s reported here, there’s zero reason to believe that the kid said, “Oh by the way, I’m actually only 16.”

    I think that old people seeking underage people for sex is gross, and is beyond my understanding. But you don’t know the complete story here. Also, statutory rape laws vary by state–so a 16 year old in one state wouldn’t have been raped. In another he would have been. Can you explain that gross discrepancy?

  19. northalabama says

    i can think of one reason anyone uses grindr (ok, about a dozen reasons). if this had been a computer date, would you expect an exchange of id’s at the restaurant or starbuck’s?

    if someone represents themselves as 18, the blame cannot fall completely on someone else, and grindr has age restrictions. unless the kid has his own smartphone and credit card, the parents should share responsibility – the kid knew exactly what he was doing.

  20. Homo Genius says

    @theo “Victim-blaming”… plz. The kid is not a victim and likely got what he was after. The report is sketchy on details but IMO one of the parents likely found this activity and went nuts.

    Back in the day when chat rooms were the thing, there used to be obvious entrapment people hanging about. In one I used if anyone ever claimed to be under age we announced and warned the entire channel.

    Since teens did use these channels a lot, if I ever had a hook up with someone who wasn’t obviously 30ish, I would demand ID.

    When I was 15/16 most everyone I hooked up with 20-30. Mainly because gay guys my age had so many issues it was just easier to deal with adults.

    Fine this guy broke the law, but we shouldn’t be characterizing him as a predator.

  21. Paul R says

    @Theo: I am NOT blaming the victim. Again, based on the story, we don’t know if there is a victim.

    Not all 16 year olds are the same. I went to college when I was 16. I lived in a dorm filled with lots of gay upperclassmen. I started going to gay bars when I was 13. (No, I didn’t go home with anyone.) I had four older brothers who had raised much holier hell that I ever did, I never got into trouble with the law, I never picked up an STD, I skipped two grades, and I had a 4.0 in high school and college, where I graduated just after I turned 20. I went out all the time—not just to bars, but to art openings, book readings, trips domestic and foreign, jobs of all types, and lots of other things—before I could legally drink. (Though I certainly drank.)

    Age is a number. People are not robots. Some teens are a lot smarter than 50 year olds. That’s not news.

  22. EchtKultig says

    What the h-ll? I’m sick of my posts disappearing on this stupid website because I use a word like, well, h-ll apparently.
    Anyhow, a long post of mine about how there’s a double standard that we have to live with disappeared. Society will ALWAYS see this as worse than a man seducing a not-quite-legal girl, or vice-versa, and MUCH worse than a woman seducing a not-quite-legal boy or vice versa. I’m not saying any of these scenarios are moral, or ethical, but the other two will be considered gray areas by some straights while male on male will not.

  23. EchtKultig says

    “Age is a number. People are not robots. Some teens are a lot smarter than 50 year olds. That’s not news.”

    That’s all well and good – doesn’t matter to 98% of heterosexuals, who, for the foreseeable future, will be running the world. An older man is always “ruining” a 16 year old boy, no matter how badly the 16 year old boy “wants it”, or how high his IQ is.

  24. EchtKultig says

    Oh, I think I know what word did it…

    d0uchebag

    d0uchebag d0ucehbag

    d0uchebag d0ucehbag d0ucehbag

    Towleroad…seriously? This is not a website for old ladies to discuss recipes.

  25. says

    The comments on this article are so freaking disgusting. The kid was 16. The man is 34. If you don’t want to get caught in these type of situations stop going after kids. Yes I said kids. I considered myself pretty mature at 16 but as a 24 year old looking back I was still naive about a lot of things.

    He is a grown man and was in a position where he should know better. Men, I implore you to stop thinking with your smaller head.

    Also stop victim blaming.

  26. EchtKultig says

    Well said Derrick, and also with our “collective heads”. We just have to accept as a whole that we must be held to higher standard. Guy says he’s 18 but doesn’t quite look it? Get a notarized birth certificate LOL. Research into homophobia shows that concern about youth “conversion” are one of the main contributors to it, in fact probably the main contributor. Of course, like a lot of instinctual human beliefs, very misguided. One of the most shocking articles I ever read was from Lawrence Lessig on the pedophile who abused him when he was a young teen at an exclusive prep school. Shocking not only for the actions of the abuser (who, of course, had a girlfriend as is almost always the case with the most notorious ones) but for Lessig’s utter candor and honesty. IIRC He actually suggested he liked the attention in some ways. But he’s straight and married with kids, and was obviously well adjusted enough to become a famed constitutional lawyer. It doesn’t make people gay but of course can be very damaging…_whether_ the victim believes it is consensual or not.

  27. Jack M says

    16 year olds want to get laid, too, and they’ll do whatever they can to get some. It’s the adult’s responsibility to make sure they aren’t breaking the law, if at all possible. And when in doubt, walk away!

  28. Ted says

    “TED, like everyone else, the 16 year old was surely on grindr either to meet people, to hook up, to chat, or just out of curiosity. I don’t expect he was on grinder to be raped.” What makes you think he was raped??? I was a 14 y/o who hooked up with a 40 y/o for over 5 years. It wasn’t a negative experience.
    Sexual encounters do not turn to rape simply because a participate is over the age of X.

  29. Ted says

    “I have a real problem with calling consensual sex with a 16 year old rape. It shouldn’t be illegal in the first place, but even if it is, it shouldn’t be called rape.” Totally agree Merv.

  30. Steve Talbert says

    The age of consent varies by state and ranges from 13 to 18 depending on state and circumstances of couple (age difference, male/female, etc). Most are at 16.

    There is also a different age range for marriage (both with and without parental consent).

    I am so glad I made it out of high school without any problems….Although when I was in high school, just the act with ANYONE of the same sex was illegal – regardless of age.

  31. jake says

    Upon his arrest, Simmons “confessed to engaging in unlawful sexual acts with the victim while knowing he was 16 years old,” court records said.

    It was a threesome with the 16 year old and a college student hooking up and having sex at Simmon’s house. It appears to be something discussed by the college student and Simmons. There’s an update on delawareonline.

  32. antisaint says

    Laws are laws, guys. He of all people should have been way more careful. If you look at the random squares that come up on Grindr, you’ll most likely see at least one face that looks way too young to be on grindr. That is called a “red flag,” and it should be the kind that lets enough blood back into the big head for rational thought.

    And there is nothing about that mug shot that puts that man anywhere near college age. very late twenties at best. this is precisely the reason is better to err on the side of caution– age is harder to gauge for some than others.

  33. theo says

    Of course it’s victim-blaming.

    “He got what he was after.” How do you know this, exactly, given the few details of the case?

    The law states he cannot consent to sexual relations with a 34 year-old, and the assailant was a DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL in an office which has made the prevention of sex crimes against minors a priority.

    No adult should be trolling Grindr, or any other service, looking for sex with teenagers, period. And none should take advantage of a teen, no matter his supposed “willingness,” which is such a slippery slope, it’s absurd.

    The majority of this comment thread is stomach-churning.

  34. Marc says

    its not a crime to have sex with a teen. In Austria (where i live) age of consent is 14-16.(depends on situation) no problem with teensex…

  35. Ted says

    “As a 16 year old, I find some of these comments disturbing.

    Posted by: Jacob” As a 47 y/o, I find you pretending to be a 16 y/o even more disturbing.

  36. Craig says

    Here’s a sad truth: no one cares whether or not you consider sex with a 16 year old as rape or not. The courts care a lot. That’s all that matters.

    The man is an assistant state d/a. Anyone in that position knows full well what he faced.

    Under the law, this is rape. It doesn’t matter why the kid had sex with the adult, why he was on Grindr, or anything else. There’s only one fact the jury will consider – that a 34 year old had sex with a 16 year old kid.

    On that they will convict him, he will loose his license to practice law, and for the most part, life as he knows it will end.

    100% of the blame goes with the adult. Besides, honestly, this is really creepy – that is almost twice the kids age for heaven’s sake.

  37. Kim says

    ^Thanks @Jake so he knew the boy was 16 and he said F the law I will have sex with him anyway.
    @Ted Should sex with a 15 year old be illegal why about a 14 year old? What if the 14 year old is six foot tall and in college is it OK. Is he or she is fair game since they look like an adult.
    GMAFB

  38. Todd says

    An Assistant Attorney General can’t figure out the age of a kid or even younger looking adult? Sounds strange. He’s tasked with looking at cases like this from a job perspective. How was he not able to see this could possibly be a problem. If this was forceful sodomy then he deserves the book thrown at him. From my perspective, whether or not the kid was 16 or 20 isn’t at issue. At 34, you should be able to adequately rationalize the situation.

  39. JMC says

    @ Paul R: A college student? Maybe one that is about to get their PhD, because this greasy 30-something looks his age. The mental gymnastics you just pulled to try and make this scenario seem less gross are insane. You are a ridiculous human being.

    Looks like I was right about this guy being a sick predator, by the way.

  40. NOTICE says

    When I was 16 I would have given anything to have sex with a 34 year old man. Now that I’m in my 30’s, you couldn’t pay me to have sex with a teenager.

    I do think it reflects poorly on an older man desiring sex with a teenager. Yuck. Why would you want to?

  41. NOTICE says

    I do think our age of consent laws are stupid. Teenagers have always had sex since the beginning of time. Criminalizing it doesn’t change the reality. Same with our drinking laws. how is it that we can let kids defend our country and kill people, but they aren’t allowed to drink?

  42. Adat says

    I have had lots of under 18 employees over the years. All the gay ones had already been with older men (over 40 for sure) that they met on aol, craigslist, grindr, etc. just to get off. (AOL chat rooms were full of under 18 here back in 1998-2002.) None were interested in a boyfriend or anything like that, just sex. The gay kid that worked for me last year ended up staying with me for a few weeks after he turned 18, till I kicked him out for extreme drug and alcohol use. All these kids care about is getting f@#$ed up every night. Maybe we need these laws.. but everyone is breaking them…

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