Woman suspected of sexual assault in winter shelter

The suspect was charged with assaulting three young boys

Posted 10/25/19

A woman who stayed in a Douglas County winter shelter in December 2018 was arrested this month and charged with sexually assaulting three young boys while there. Brittnie Simmons, 20, had been …

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Woman suspected of sexual assault in winter shelter

The suspect was charged with assaulting three young boys

Posted

A woman who stayed in a Douglas County winter shelter in December 2018 was arrested this month and charged with sexually assaulting three young boys while there.

Brittnie Simmons, 20, had been staying in the shelter network, which rotates church locations every night, for about a week and a half when the incident took place, according to court documents. As of Oct. 25, she remained in the Douglas County jail on $20,000 bond. Simmons, who is charged with three counts of sexual assault on a child, is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 7.

Simmons began spending time with a family also staying in the network — a mother with seven children — documents state.

The children told deputies that the night of the reported incident, they were in one of the church gyms with Simmons playing the “pants game,” which includes pulling each other's pants down, according to an arrest affidavit.

The kids later reported Simmons pulled one of the children's pants down and hit their bottom, according to the report.

The suspected sexual assaults on the three boys, who were in second, seventh and eighth grade, happened later that night after the family went to bed, according to the report. The eighth-grader told police Simmons forced herself on him and threatened to report him for sexually harassing her if he told anyone.

The boy told police he was scared and didn't want his family to be kicked out of the shelter, according to the affidavit.

The children's mother, who had been in the hospital that day for a migraine, reportedly was asleep at the time. The next day, the eighth-grade boy told a church employee what allegedly happened to him and his brothers. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office responded and took statements from the children, their mother, church employees and Simmons.

Simmons denied having any inappropriate contact with the children, according to the report. She was asked to leave the shelter but was not arrested due to a lack of probable cause.

When investigators and the children's mother attempted to contact Simmons later, she continuously hung up and told them not to contact her again, the report states.

In April, Simmons contacted detectives when she was told she would not be able to secure a position with the military because of the open investigation, according to the report. When confronted with the allegations during an interview with investigators, she “got verbally upset” and called the claims “ridiculous.”

Simmons acknowledged playing the “pants game” with the kids but said she did not pull any of the boys' pants down or do anything inappropriate. She also said she was not alone with one of the children, according to the report.

“I know better than that anyway. That raises suspicion,” Simmons said, according to the affidavit.

Simmons was arrested Oct. 10.

The shelter network, which operates from Nov. 1 through March 31, serves only women and children. There is no law enforcement presence at the shelters, according to a spokesperson with the county.

Douglas County does not provide funding for the program. It does help coordinate the network and aids in transporting people to the shelters in various locations throughout the county.

In order to be admitted to the network, people in need of a place to stay must fill out an application and undergo a warrant check, according to the winter shelter network website. All applicants ages 15 and up are also checked through the national sex offender registry.

In an emailed statement about the arrest, a spokesperson for the winter shelter network said it was an isolated incident.

“Our hearts broke when we learned of the incident in December of last year, and immediately reported the incident to law enforcement and Douglas County Human Services,” according to the statement. “We continue to make every effort to keep our guests as safe as possible while still providing care for those who desire to use the facilities provided.”

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