The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Leader of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps Charged with Child Molestation

By Ryan Lenz on June 20, 2013 - 10:23 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Extremist Crime

Chris Simcox, the former leader of one of the largest militia groups patrolling the Arizona border during the peak of the nativist Minuteman movement, has been charged with molesting three young girls.

Simcox, 52, was arrested yesterday after detectives found probable cause that he had molested the girls, all under the age of 10, police spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson told Reuters. The charges stem from incidents over the last few months. Simcox has denied all charges, according to a press release from the Phoenix Police Department.

He faces two counts each of child molestation and sexual conduct with a minor, and one count of attempted child molestation.

Simcox is the co-founder of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. During the heyday of the nativist movement, the former kindergarten teacher was among the movement’s most charismatic figures, affecting the likeness of a renegade vigilante patrolling a lawless border, often with a pistol tucked into the front of his jeans.

Last year, this reporter met with Simcox for a story investigating the possible involvement of extremist groups in the killings of Mexican immigrants crossing the Arizona border. Simcox claimed to know nothing of the killings, to have left the movement and to be living a quiet life tutoring schoolchildren in suburban Phoenix.

Simcox, who does not yet have an attorney, is being held in the Maricopa County Jail. No bail has been set.

This is not the first time Simcox has been accused of violence or molestation by a spouse. In 2010, his third wife, Alena Maria Lyras-Simcox, obtained a restraining order against him after telling a court he threatened her with a gun and said he was going to kill her and their children. Earlier, Kim Dunbar, Simcox’s second wife, sought to obtain custody of their teenage son in 2001 because she feared her husband had become dangerous. In sworn affidavits, she alleged that Simcox was prone to violent rages throughout their 10-year marriage. His first wife, Deborah Crews, told the Report that Simcox had allegedly gotten drunk and tried to molest their 14-year-old daughter, but no complaint to police was ever made.

At the time, Simcox refused to comment, telling the Intelligence Report,  “My personal life has nothing to do with” the Minutemen and that the Southern Poverty Law Center (publisher of the Report and Hatewatch) was trying to discredit the movement.

The Minuteman movement, which Simcox co-founded with Jim Gilchrist, was a media sensation in 2005, when volunteers from across the country traveled to Cochise County, Ariz., for a “border watch” event. Simcox and Gilchrist soon split, and Simcox for several years headed a group he called the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. Though it came in with a bang, Simcox’s organization disbanded amid infighting and legal difficulties.

Gilchrist, who spoke to Hatewatch on Thursday, said that he had not spoken to Simcox in eight years. At the time, Gilchrist said it had become apparent that Simcox was socially “maladroit.”

“I am wary of anybody being accused of anything until we see the court process carried out,” Gilchrist said. “But if, in fact, he is guilty, my heart bleeds for those victims, whoever they are.”

  • Erika

    well sam, he is convicted and therefore banned from owning firearms as a consequence of a felony conviction maybe he can be caught in one of the random “weapons sweeps” that you proposed :P

  • Sam Molloy

    Roger, normally any felony conviction will invalidate any concealed carry permit. And since Arizona has open carry, he may not have had a permit anyway. Once again, guns are not the problem, as they could as easily use bats and knives to terrorize people trying to make a better life in America.

  • Erika

    Sam, don’t be naive – “reasonable compromise over gun safety measures” is as dead as a dodo and is never coming back. The current system we have leaves no room for compromise – just look at health care where not even a plan from the right wing Heritage Institute is acceptable to the right when a Democrat supports it. And note that the opposition isn’t of the reasoned “this is mainly a giveaway to private insurance companies and hospitals” or “a single payer system would cost less and provide better coverage for all” type – it is breathless paranoia driven screaming about “death panels” and “Socialist Medicine” which is downright silly considering that the Heritage Foundation plan that is “Obamacare” is primarily a massive giveaway to private insurance companies and hospitals.

    90% of people may support universal background checks for gun buyers but the 10% of the people who oppose them have access to billions of dollars of money and the Supreme Court in Citizens United allowed unlimited secret corporate campaign contrabutions (or spending on “issue ads” which tend to be of the nature of vicious attack ads) – as a result, there are always going to be enough people in Congress to block it. And again, the opposition isn’t going to be reasonable – it is going to reflect pure paranoia – hence a unversal background check is the “government coming to take your guns and throw you in a FEMA concentration camp” or people claiming (on national media platforms) that if people cannot have whatever sort of gun they want it will inevitable lead to genocide. The NRA has already stated that they are never going to back any new gun control measure – and its only a matter of time before they start moving to repeal the few which have already been passed.

    There is no room to compromise with a person who says no to “everything” – and its the purest form of folly to think it can take place.

  • Erika

    Roger, as a 52 year old child molesting former Kindergarten teacher pedophile with several assaults against multiple victims whether he will still be able to carry a gun is going to be the least of his problems. The odds are that if convicted he will get an effective life sentence or perhaps a shorter sentence followed by “civil commitment.” And of course, many convicted pedophiles in prison tend to received extremely harsh treatment from other prisoners and often wind up with mysterious cases of the “dead.”

    Arizona – like most other states – has a record of given extremely draconian sentences (but in my opinion well deserved) to pedophile former teachers. They aren’t likely going to let a repeat child molester with multiple victims ever walk free again – no matter what previous political ties he might have had.

  • Roger MacEvoy

    If the charges stick or he pleads guilty will his concealed carry card be taken away by the state and will he become ineligible to purchase and hold firearms? Let’s see if the Gun Rights activists and legal eagles in Arizona uphold the laws there.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Ruslan Amirkhanov said,

    on June 22nd, 2013 at 1:30 am

    “Sarcasm aside, it’s interesting that so many of these extreme right-wing nut jobs get nailed for pedophilia: Kevin Strom, Frank Collin, and so on. Ruslan Amirkhanov can probably rattle off a few more.”

    “You BET I can name some more! Let’s see, there was David Lane. Ben Klassen was accused of drugging and raping a teenage skinhead. I believe some guy named Ed Fields pleaded no contest to sexually harassing a minor.”

    David Lane I remember, Ben Klassen too, and Edward Fields was the founder of the “National States Rights Party.” He was a chiropractor by trade, based in Birmingham, and during the 1962 Oxford, Mississippi, mess, he telegraphed Ross Barnett to place his party’s “lives and fortunes at the disposal of your supreme authority as governor of the sovereign state of Mississippi.” I don’t think his little force would have done well against the 155th Mississippi National Guard Regiment or the 2nd Infantry Division that followed.

    He produced a shrill newspaper called “The Thunderbolt,” which I think became “The Truth At Last,” and retired from his nonsense some years ago, having had the usual non-impact on American society…not surprised he engaged in sexual harassment of a minor.

    I forgot about Billy Riccio, the Klansman in the beret. He set up a youth camp for would-be male Klukkers and got accused of having sex with them.

    I am not greatly amused how these intense homophobes are secretly pursuing little boys, though…I find it sickening.

  • Kiwiwriter

    “Reynardine said,

    on June 21st, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Kiwi, it is the belief of these people, probably brutally inculcated in their own childhoods, that powerlessness is the ultimate, most harshly punishable offense, and that children are the guiltiest of offenders.”

    Yes, I’ve noticed from my reading on these folks that they truly despise the utterly powerless, and kids are indeed the ultimate in powerlessness…and the most convenient targets for inner torments. It’s similar to how serial killer start their careers by killing small animals.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Sarcasm aside, it’s interesting that so many of these extreme right-wing nut jobs get nailed for pedophilia: Kevin Strom, Frank Collin, and so on. Ruslan Amirkhanov can probably rattle off a few more.”

    You BET I can name some more! Let’s see, there was David Lane. Ben Klassen was accused of drugging and raping a teenage skinhead. I believe some guy named Ed Fields pleaded no contest to sexually harassing a minor.

  • http://NONE JIM

    Let’s all pray for this man. If crimes have been committed then let justice be done. Let’s all listen to the evidence before we condemn him.

  • concernedcitizen

    I don’t know but he looks a little “pervy” to me.

    But there are many people walking around who look like that so we will just have to wait for the trial.

    We don’t need another extremist group. They are just making things worse.

  • Reynardine

    Kiwi, it is the belief of these people, probably brutally inculcated in their own childhoods, that powerlessness is the ultimate, most harshly punishable offense, and that children are the guiltiest of offenders.

  • Sam Molloy

    Erika, that seems to be the current mantra from people who feel they have lost the struggle for reasonable gun safety measures. While it has validity – a lot of the gun culture is based on fantasy rather than food sourcing or protection – it is more divisive than productive. There is still room for reasonable compromises if both sides get down from their extremist high horse and reach out towards reality.

  • EightBits

    The true rotten stench of human stain.

  • June

    These allegations, if true, prove that the anti-Mexicans are real perverts.

  • ken

    I wish Hatewatch would include a Twitter link so that these important stories can be shared with our friends.

  • Missy

    I’m going to go out on a limb and play armchair psychologist for a moment. It sounds to me like this guy’s attempt to take the law into his own hands was some sort overcompensation for his pedophilia. But it’s all sad and revolting on every level imaginable.

  • Kiwiwriter

    I’ve read about this guy before, and he struck me as playing with only 37 cards, if that many. He has enough charisma to attract followers, but not the good sense God gave squirrels.

    Sarcasm aside, it’s interesting that so many of these extreme right-wing nut jobs get nailed for pedophilia: Kevin Strom, Frank Collin, and so on. Ruslan Amirkhanov can probably rattle off a few more.

    Anyway, my point is that there has to be a linkage between extreme right-wing ideology and pedophilia, and I suspect it may be chemical, in the lobes of the brain.

    I do wish that the would-be adherents to these con men and frauds would take heed of these facts before wasting their lives on neo-Fascism.

  • Robert Pinkerton

    Misconduct with a handgun should make any lawful gun-person cringe: It is just another piece of argumentative ammunition for the misguided ‘bien’-pensants who wish to abrogate the common citizen’s right to arms.

  • Erika

    any “man” who walks around with a gun sticking out of the front of his pants is obviously trying to compensate for something .

  • Sam Molloy

    I am quite sure any of the immigrants he might have seen crossing the border has far better ethics and morals than he does.

  • Reynardine

    Kindergarten teacher. Tutoring children. Yeah.