(CMR) A police officer in Bermuda pleaded guilty to intruding the privacy of a female after he reportedly hugged and kissed a fellow officer despite her clearly stating she did not want him touching her.
Sean Simons (52) admitted the crime after prosecutors withdrew a second, more serious charge of sexual assault, the Royal Gazette reported.
Commissioner of Police Darrin Simons said the constable had been suspended since October 2021, and his employment status was under review after his guilty plea.
According to prosecutors, Simons's victim was having lunch at a Hamilton restaurant with a friend on June 11, 2021. During the meal, she got up to go to the bathroom and had to walk past a table where Simons was sitting with friends.
“As the complainant approached, two men who were with the defendant and whom the complainant is familiar with got up and started verbally greeting her. During this time, the defendant also got up from his seat and walked directly into the complainant's personal space,” Prosecutor Shaunté Simons-Fox told the court.
The cop reportedly stood close to the complainant, almost touching her face with his face. The complainant stated that she felt offended by what he did, and she pushed the defendant with her hand in his upper chest and told him to get out of her personal space.
The court heard that the defendant immediately raised his hands in the air and stated: ‘You touched my chest, and I could touch you.'
He then grabbed her and lifted her off the ground in a bear hug while she shouted at him to put her down.
“The defendant eventually put her down after the complainant pleaded with him three times to do so,” the prosecutor revealed.
She added: “Whilst the defendant was putting the complainant on the ground, he kissed her twice on her right cheek and once on her neck.”
The court heard that the victim eventually got to the bathroom but heard someone banging on the door and calling her name once there.
Simons approached her again when she tried to return to her table, grabbing her around her waist, only letting go after she repeatedly told him to leave her alone.
Ms. Simons-Fox said: “The complainant stated that during her interaction with the defendant, she smelt the scent of alcohol on his breath, he appeared to be spitting whilst talking to her, and his eyes appeared bloodshot.”
The victim suffered from a bruised back in the incident and felt “embarrassed, humiliated and offended” by Simons's actions.
Simons, who joined the Bermuda Police Service in 2010 after serving in the Royal Bermuda Regiment, was eventually interviewed by detectives in August 2021 but declined to answer questions. He was arrested and charged in October last year.
The Commissioner of Police said Simons was suspended at that time under the Police (Conduct) Orders 2016, which provided that the suspended officer must still be paid.
He added: “Also in accordance with the Police (Conduct) Orders 2016, Pc Simons currently remains an employee of the Bermuda Police Service. However, in light of his guilty plea, his status is now under review.”