[Newsletter E 7]
Sam Manzie speaks the truth
It seems positive and surprising to see Sam Manzie speak out so favorably about his "molester" -- we've been wanting to see the boys speak out for a long time...
Too bad it is so easily neutralized by Sam's father saying "the guy still has a grip on my son's mind...." So the father gets the Cyber Angels on his side, and Sam gets put down as a 'victim' again.... But it sure is nice that Sam is strong enough to speak out the way he did... too bad he can't be supported more.
Simmons sounds like he could be an important activist if he survives his sentence and if he can avoid doing 'stupid' things like plying the Internet again... He's been burned by the system, and now wants to fight for the same things many of us are fighting for -- 'to fight on behalf of "gay teens" and to fight "aggressive investigations." ' Remember what Lt. Thorne said 17 years ago: "We have to crack the boy, and it's not an easy thing to do." Things have not changed that much since then, apparently.
News item: Pedophile gets 5 years despite plea from victim
November 13, 1999 , By JOHN CURRAN The Associated Press
FREEHOLD -- A pedophile who admitted molesting teenage killer Sam Manzie was sentenced to five years in prison Friday, despite a courtroom mercy plea by the victim.
In his first public statement about his relationship with Stephen P. Simmons, Manzie called Simmons a good role model and said he has fond memories of their time together. But prosecutors and the teen's parents said Simmons was an evil, manipulative child molester who wielded a Svengali-like influence over Manzie after meeting and befriending him through an Internet chat room when Manzie was 14.
Manzie, 17, of Jackson Township in Ocean County, is serving a 70-year prison term for the 1997 killing of Eddie Werner, 11. Simmons, 45, of Holbrook, N.Y., had pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact and child endangerment this year. He could be out of prison in about four months under the sentence handed down Friday by Superior Court Judge Michael Farren. The sentence calls for a 2 1/2-year parole ineligibility. But Simmons has already served more than two years while awaiting trial. "The sad fact is that it won't be too long before he's out of prison again," said Edward P. Werner, the dead boy's father. "He's going to intrude on other people's lives. He's going to destroy children. He's going to wreak havoc on another family."
A disturbed loner with a history of abusing animals and small children, Manzie lured Werner into his home as the boy sold PTA merchandise door to door. Manzie attempted to have sex with him before strangling him with the cord of an alarm clock. Manzie's parents say the relationship with Simmons and Manzie's cooperation in a police sting aimed at gathering evidence against Simmons helped push him over the brink in the days before the killing. Manzie originally cooperated with investigators, but later destroyed the equipment they had placed in his bedroom to tape-record his telephone conversations with Simmons.
That turned out to be only the first time Manzie undercut the prosecution of his molester. He refused to testify against Simmons at trial and was held in contempt. His defiance hampered the prosecution's case against Simmons because Manzie was the only eyewitness for many of the alleged crimes. As a result, seven of the nine charges against Simmons were thrown out at trial.
On Friday, Manzie walked into the courtroom escorted by a half-dozen sheriff's deputies, nodding slightly to Simmons before he sat in the jury box, about 5 feet from Simmons. When it was his turn to speak, the gaunt, handcuffed teenager stood up and pulled out a written statement, reading aloud from it as his parents and Werner's father looked on from the hushed gallery.
"Steve, you got what you wanted, but I also got what I wanted," he said. He called Simmons "a positive adult role model who encouraged me to stay in school, get counseling, and mend my relationship with my parents." By the time police began investigating his affair with Simmons in 1997, Manzie said, it was already over. He agreed to cooperate because authorities threatened to prosecute him if he didn't, he said, but he later had a change of heart because he felt bad about turning on Simmons to spare himself. "I decided to make it up to Mr. Simmons by getting myself in trouble," he said. He destroyed the equipment and called Simmons to warn him of the investigation, he said. He also encouraged Simmons to leave New York State, to avoid prosecution. "I don't know why he didn't," Manzie said. Finally, he asked Farren to go easy on Simmons. "Your honor, in sentencing Mr. Simmons, please keep in mind that he never was violent toward me. Your honor, please keep in mind that he never forced me to do what I didn't want to do. Your honor, please keep in mind that I never regretted the relationship," Manzie said.
Although he balked at granting Simmons leniency -- he gave him the maximum penalty -- Farren agreed to overturn a six-month contempt-of-court sentence he had given Manzie for refusing to testify.
Soon after Manzie's address, Simmons got the chance to talk. He called the chain of events leading up to the Werner killing "a one-in-a-million happening." He admitted committing a crime and said that if he had not met Manzie, Werner never would have died. "If I could sacrifice my life to bring back Eddie Werner, I would do so. I am not an evil person," Simmons said. Simmons also pledged to stay in touch with Manzie when Simmons gets out of prison, to fight on behalf of "gay teens" and to fight "aggressive investigations."
The statements outraged Manzie's parents and Werner's father. "He did a good job in grooming his prey," Nicholas Manzie said. "He still has control over his mind." Said Werner: "It made me physically ill to hear that pile of filth utter my son's name."
Simmons won't be out immediately. He will become eligible for parole in four months, but Manzie's parents and Werner vowed to block it if possible. In the meantime, authorities in Suffolk County, N.Y., may prosecute Simmons on sex charges stemming from his admission that he had sexual relations with Manzie at Simmons' house.
Nicholas Manzie, who has recently become friendly with talk radio host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, said he recently joined the Cyber Angels, an arm of Sliwa's group that tries to protect children from cyber stalkers like Simmons. "His [Simmons'] playground is the Internet. And he'll be in that playground again. I'm committed to becoming an expert in that playground. When Mr. Simmons goes on line and communicates with a child, that child may be me," Nicholas Manzie said.
Copyright © 1999 Bergen Record Corp.
[Newsletter E 7]