Eric D. Sims, a convicted child molester, was emotionally and sexually abused as a child, his mother said during her 1992 sentencing hearing in Shawnee County District Court.
Sims was sexually assaulted by his grandfather, who slept in the same bed with him for 14 years due to lack of space in their home, said Montoy Sims, who would die at age 75 in 2008. Sims had been emotionally abusive towards him, she added.
Psychiatrist David George Hough testified at the same hearing that although Eric Sims knew it was illegal for him to assault his teenage victims, he believed the law did not understand the nature of his love for them.
Eric Sims told the court that he loved these kids the only way he knew how and that he was sorry.
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Sims, then 24, was sentenced to a minimum of 70 years in prison, which was later increased to a minimum of 75 years.
Eric Sims Seeks Executive Clemency From Governor Laura Kelly
Now 53 years old and having spent more than half of his life in prison, Sims is seeking pardon from Governor Laura Kelly, the Kansas Prisoner Review Board said in a legal opinion published May 17 in the Topeka Capital-Journal.
The notice states that those wishing to share comments on potential leniency for The Sims should send information in writing by Tuesday, June 1 to the Kansas Department of Corrections, Prisoner Review Board, 714 SW Jackson, Suite 300, Topeka KS 66603.
It was not clear what arguments for his release were being made by Sims.
Kelly’s office has yet to receive Sims’ request for pardon, said governor spokesperson Lauren Fitzgerald last week.
The Kansas Department of Corrections either, said Carol Pitts, a spokesperson for that department.
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The Capital-Journal was unable to contact Sims by phone because Kansas Department of Corrections policy requires reporters seeking to contact a particular inmate to write a letter to that inmate and mail it. standard.
Sims is being held in Florida after being transferred there in 2019 as part of a deal allowing the Kansas and Florida corrections systems to hold inmates for each other. Sims has twice filed lawsuits alleging the transfer violated his rights. One of them remains on hold.
Sims found victims as DeMolay’s advisor
Sims assaulted his victims while serving as an advisor to the Lawrence Chapter for DeMolay, a Masonic fraternal organization established for ages 13 to 21 “to ensure the safety and well-being of its members,” according to Capital-Journal records .
Sims used his position of authority to influence the teens in his chapter to engage in sexual acts against each other, often while the group was driving around town. Sims watched the activity, sometimes joining in on himself, according to court testimony.
DeMolay officials said they were unaware of the abuse while it was occurring.
As part of a deal that dropped further charges, Sims pleaded guilty in 1992 in Shawnee County to seven counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, four counts of indecent violation of freedoms with a child and two counts. sexual assault. The 13 counts resulted from the abuse of six boys.
The Sims Shawnee County sentencing hearing was held in December 1992.
Eric Sims said the grandfather who assaulted him was his best friend too
Sims said at this hearing that the grandfather who assaulted him had nonetheless been his best friend and the greatest influence in his life, providing for most of his needs and buying only “the best things” for him. him.
Sims said he tried to do the same for the youngsters at DeMolay, sometimes buying them costumes for $ 700.
Sims said that being finally confronted with the sexual abuse he suffered from his grandfather caused him great pain and anguish, adding that he realized that he had caused similar pain to the young people of DeMolay.
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Psychiatrist David George Hough said at the Sims sentencing hearing that Sims was a good candidate for treatment. He said participating in a good, highly structured inpatient treatment program for years would give him a better than average chance of coming out of the program with his “failed” pedophilia.
But Menninger Clinic psychiatrist Stephen M. Peterson, who had not been able to speak to Sims personally, said treatment would be difficult because of his choice of target, the teenagers, and the fact that Sims was not not convinced that his behavior was wrong.
Sims was sentenced in Shawnee County to a minimum of 70 years in prison, then five years was added to that minimum after pleading guilty in 1993 in Douglas County to two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy and one count of abuse of indecent freedoms with a child. These charges related to the abuse of three teenagers.
Although Sims’ minimum sentence is 75 years, the sentencing structure the state had in place at the time allows him to become eligible for parole as early as the middle of that 75-year period. he gets all the good behavior credits available in jail, Corrections spokesperson Pitts said.
State prison records indicate that Sims could become eligible for parole as early as 2031.
These records show that he was incarcerated in various prisons in Kansas and committed five prison disciplinary violations, all between 2003 and 2010.
Eric Sims has twice sued Kansas Department of Corrections officials
The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Sims, a member of the Apostolic Faith, was in custody at Norton Correctional Facility in 2016 when he began receiving pastoral counseling from Jonathan Dudley, pastor of Heritage Family Church of Wichita.
The state prison service does not offer specific services for apostolics in its prisons.
Sims, Dudley, and Heritage Family Church therefore sent a letter on May 5, 2018 to the Correctional Service outlining potential legal action and setting out specific requests, including that the ministry recognize the Apostolic Faith as a separate religion and allow apostolic inmates to be admitted to all. its facilities to organize separate weekly services.
Fifteen days later, the prison service transferred Sims from El Dorado Correctional Facility to a prison in Orlando, Florida.
Sims was “shackled in the middle of the night” and “thrown in the back of a hot van” without being told where he was going, according to Kansas Corrections lawsuit lawsuit that lawyers Patrick Turner and Daniel O. Cortez filed in September 2018 on behalf of Sims, Dudley and Heritage Family Church.
The lawsuit demanded that the prison service be required to take into account the religious beliefs of all apostolic inmates in its facilities.
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The lawsuit also claimed Sims was transferred to Florida in retaliation for exercising his right to file a First Amendment complaint.
Rather, state prison officials responded that the purpose of the transfers was to give the inmate a fresh start in a new location.
Dudley and Heritage Family Church dropped the lawsuit in January 2019.
Cortez and Turner stepped down as Sims’ attorneys later in the month, saying in a court document they had “a fundamental disagreement” with him on “issues critical to the prosecution of this action.”
Sims was therefore acting as his own lawyer when his action was dismissed in September 2019 by U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren.
Melgren concluded that Sims did not have the legal capacity to challenge the policies of the Kansas Department of Corrections, as he was no longer incarcerated in Kansas and therefore suffered no bodily harm as a result of those policies.
Melgren said Sims still had the legal capacity to file a complaint alleging he suffered retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights.
Yet he denied Sims’ request to make this claim because Sims had failed to exhaust the administrative remedies available to him through the grievance process offered by the Kansas Department of Corrections.
Sims, still acting as his own attorney, then filed a separate complaint last year, claiming that the Kansas Department of Corrections violated his First Amendment rights by transferring him out of state after he filed a complaint against a doctor who treated him while he was detained in Norton. This case is pending.