JEFFERSONVILLE — A 23-year-old woman accused of molesting and exploiting a child for drug money appeared in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 on Thursday.
A relative of the alleged victim, a child under the age of 5, called police after finding concerning videos on a phone belonging to Jamie L. Simms, according to court records. The videos, sent to five unidentified males on the messenger app Kik, reportedly show Simms either sexually abusing the child directly, or using sex toys on herself with the child present.
When Simms was arrested last week, she reportedly told police that she was addicted to drugs and communicated with people on apps Kik and Omegle and through Reddit, sending pornographic videos online for money. She estimated receiving $200 as payment for the videos, which she said she used to buy personal items and drugs.
Inside the courtroom Thursday morning, Simms kept her head down with her face in her hands as attorney Eric Weitzel — who presided over the hearing — read the following charges: one level 4 felony count of child molesting, two level 4 felony counts of child exploitation and one level 5 felony count of possession of child pornography.
At one point during the reading of the charges, Simms shook her head side to side. When Weitzel asked if she understood the charges against her, she said, “Yes, I understand, but” before Weitzel cut her off, advising she not speak without an attorney present.
A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf and a public defender will be appointed. Simms’ bond remains at $50,000 cash only. A trial is scheduled for Aug. 7. If convicted on all charges against her, Simms could face between seven and 42 years in prison.
Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull told the News and Tribune on Wednesday that the case remains under investigation. He called the case “unspeakably disturbing.”
“As of this moment she (Simms) is the only one charged. However that’s subject to change if I am able to establish criminal cases that I can prove against other individuals that were involved,” he said, adding that anyone believed to have received, requested or paid for the pornographic videos could be charged.
Jamie L. Simms appeared in Clark County court Thursday on charges that she molested and exploited a child for drug money.
The father of the children suspected something was wrong and that is when he went through the mother’s phone. He told WAVE 3 News that when he found inappropriate videos she had recorded, he immediately called police. The details in the probable cause affidavit are disturbing and too graphic to share.
“I feel sick, I felt sick since I found out,” said the father, who wanted to have his identity withheld.
According to court documents, Jaime Simms was visiting the 3- and 1-year-old she shares with the father just last week.
“She was only here a couple hours a week to see her kids,” the father said.
He went through Simms’ phone and found videos of her and their 3-year-old daughter.
“It’s a case where a 3-year-old who was asleep was taken advantage of by an adult,” Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said. “In this particular case, the allegation is that the defendant filmed the child abuse/child molestation that was occurring and then did distribute the video of that molestation on apps or websites that included Kik, Reddit and a something known as Omegle.”
Simms confessed to police and told them she recorded the videos to sell so she could get money for her drug habit.
“These are sites where people can exchange or post videos,” Mull said. “In this particular instance, she was receiving money that she had set up to a PayPal account.”
Simms told police that she estimated she received approximately $200 from the videos, and she used the money to buy personal items and drugs. Simms is facing child molestation and child porn charges. If convicted, she will have to register as a sex offender.
As for the 3-year-old?
“She doesn’t know anything that happened,” the father said. “But, she has been asking, Where is mommy? I don’t know what to say to her.”
The father said his daughter is OK. Authorities are reviewing evidence to see if there will be additional charges or if there are other victims.
Mull said the case is just another one where people will do terrible things to get drugs.
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