NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the arrest of Port Authority Police Officer Telly Simmonds, 47, of the Bronx, NY, for creating false police reports to cover up his inappropriate relationship with a 19-year-old woman, on Friday, January 21st. Simmonds met the young woman, brought in as a homeless individual in danger of exploitation, while he was a police officer at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
“Taking advantage of a young, at-risk woman seeking help is one of the most despicable things an officer of the law can do,” said Attorney General James. “Simmonds allegedly abused the power of his badge and the Port Authority in order to engage in and conceal an inappropriate relationship. No one should be taken advantage of by the very individuals who are charged with protecting them. My office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure the safety of New Yorkers and accountability for those who put them in perilous positions.”
In the Spring of 2018, Simmonds was assigned to the Youth Services Unit (YSU) at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street in Manhattan. The YSU was established to identify runaway youth and young adults who may be in danger of exploitation. On March 21, 2018, the 19-year-old woman was brought to the YSU office and met Simmonds, who took down her name, address, telephone, and other personal information. After leaving the police station, Simmonds and the young woman began to text each other regularly. On April 1, 2018, Simmonds and the young woman stayed at a Times Square area hotel using a Port Authority voucher, which are for use by officers for work-related duty only.
In early April 2018, the young woman left the shelter where she was residing in New York City and transferred to a shelter in Philadelphia, citing safety concerns in New York. Once at the new shelter, Simmonds sent her texts in an attempt to convince her to return to New York. On the morning of April 18, 2018, Simmonds worked the morning shift at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. He filled out a police report falsely claiming that he met the young woman at the Bus Terminal that very same morning at 8 a.m. and helped her get on the subway with a MetroCard. Simmonds made additional false entries of the fake meeting on Port Authority reports. After ending his shift at 3 p.m., Simmonds drove in his personal car to the shelter in Philadelphia to pick up the young woman. When he arrived at the shelter at approximately 6 p.m., he gave his Port Authority Police ID to the employees and told them that he was on official duty. Simmonds then left the shelter with the young woman and dropped her off at a shelter in the Bronx. After Simmonds took her from Philadelphia, the Philadelphia facility contacted the FBI, who then contacted the Port Authority. The Port Authority commenced an investigation and referred the matter to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).
Simmonds was arraigned Friday before Supreme Court Judge Melissa Jackson in New York County on two counts of Tampering with Public Records, a class ”D” felony, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class “E” felony, and four counts of Official Misconduct an “A” Misdemeanor. If convicted, Simmonds faces an indeterminate sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years.
The charges are merely accusations and Simmonds is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The OAG wishes to thank the Office of Inspector General of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and members of its Police Integrity Unit for their work on this investigation.
“The Port Authority’s independent Office of Inspector General immediately and thoroughly investigated these allegations as soon as they came to light and brought them to the prosecutor’s office,” said Port Authority Inspector General John Gay. “Mr. Simmonds — who has been removed from active policing work since the start of the investigation — will now be held accountable in criminal court for his actions. The Port Authority embraces the highest standards of ethics and integrity and has created a culture of zero tolerance for wrongdoing of any kind. Any and all allegations of such misconduct will be fully and vigorously investigated — and violators will be held accountable.”
The case was investigated for the OAG by Investigators Melissa Kaplan, under the direction of Detective Supervisor Mike Leahy, Executive Officer Mario Rivera, and Chief Antoine Karam of the Major Investigations Unit. Detective Supervisor Steve Broomer, and Detective Wilsonia Jean-Phillipe were also assigned to the investigation. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Oliver Pu-Folkes.
Assistant Attorneys General Kiran Heer and Aida Vernon are handling the prosecution in this matter, under the supervision of the Public Integrity Bureau Chief Gerard Murphy, with assistance by Legal Support Analyst Crystal Bisbano. Both the Investigations Bureau and the Public Integrity Bureau are part of the Division for Criminal Justice. The Division for Criminal Justice is overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General Jose Maldonado and First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.