Gurnee cop found guilty of child molestation

  • Jay Simon

    Jay Simon

Published: 9/29/2010 10:40 PM | Updated: 9/30/2010 8:45 AM

A Gurnee police officer was found guilty Thursday of molesting a 10-year-old girl inside his home.

Jay Simon, 38, faces up to five years in prison but would also be eligible for probation after being convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Lake County Associate Judge Theodore Potkonjak revoked Simons's bond after the jury's verdict was announced just before 10 p.m., and ordered him held in jail until his next court date Oct. 12.

Simon, who was honored for his DUI enforcement efforts in two of his six years with the department, is accused of fondling one of three preteen girls at a sleepover at his house in November 2006.

The investigation of the incident began in May 2008, after a second girl who was at the party told her mother and that woman called the mother of the victim.

Assistant State's Attorney Fred Day asked the jury of six men and six women not to be distracted by what he said were minor differences in the stories the three girls told about that night.

Day said the fact that the girls could not agree if the sleepover was on a Friday or a Saturday night, that they told police they played different games at the party that preceded the sleepover, and remembered the cake served differently was of little consequence.

"There are little details that are wrong these girls were 10 and 11 years old when this happened," Day said in his closing argument. "But the picture of what happened when the defendant came out of the basement is clear and survives to this day."

The victim testified Simon was in the basement and came up to the level of the house they were in while they pretended to be asleep.

As Simon fondled her, she said, she cried out and another girl looked over and saw Simon seated behind the victim on a couch.

In his testimony earlier Wednesday, Simon said he did nothing to the girl and was not even in the house because he did not leave work until at least five hours after the girl said she was attacked.

Defense attorney Torrie Newsome said the conflicts in the stories told by the girls were something that should lead the jury to decide in his client's favor.

"Anyone can get up here and say what they want to say," Newsome said, as he gestured toward the witness stand. "But look at the details of what they said and ask yourself 'Does this make sense?'"

Newsome said the girls had been coached to lie about what happened by an adult with a grudge against Simon.

Simon is also facing trials on charges he molested an 11-year-old girl who was also at the sleepover and that he pointed his service weapon at another man during an argument in March 2007.

Guilty: Attorneys debate variations in girls' stories