A Port Authority police officer was arrested for allegedly creating false police reports to cover up his inappropriate relationship with a 19-year-old woman, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Friday.
Bronx resident Telly Simmonds, 47, was arraigned 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, before Supreme Court Judge Melissa Jackson in New York County.
Simmonds allegedly met the young woman, brought in as a homeless individual in danger of exploitation, while working 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.”
Simmonds was assigned to the Youth Services Unit (YSU) at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street in spring 2018, which was established to identify runaway youth and young adults who may be in danger of exploitation. On March 21, 2018, Simmonds allegedly met the victim after she was brought to the YSU office, where Simmonds took down her name, address, telephone, and other personal information. After leaving the station, Simmonds and the victim allegedly texted regularly and on April 1, 2018, the two allegedly stayed at a Times Square area hotel using a Port Authority voucher, which is used by officers for work-related duty only.
In April 2018, the woman left the New York City shelter she was living in transferred to a shelter in Philadelphia, citing safety concerns in New York. After she left, Simmonds allegedly texted her in an attempt to get her to return to New York.
On April 18, 2018, Simmonds allegedly filled out a police report falsely claiming that he met the woman at the Bus Terminal that very same morning at 8 a.m. and helped her get on the subway with a MetroCard during his morning shift. He allegedly made more additional false entries of the fake meeting on Port Authority reports and after his shift finished at 3 p.m., Simmonds allegedly his personal car to the shelter in Philadelphia to pick up the woman.
Simmonds allegedly arrived at the shelter at 6 p.m. that evening and gave his Port Authority Police ID to the employees, saying that he was on official duty and left with the woman, dropping her off at a shelter in the Bronx. After leaving the Philadelphia facility, the shelter employees contacted the FBI, who then contacted Port Authority. The Port Authority commenced an investigation and referred the matter to the Office of the Attorney General.
“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.”
If convicted, Simmonds faces an indeterminate sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years.