INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- An Indiana State Police trooper lost his job after allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with an underage victim of child molestation.
Sgt. Matthew Simmons, an 11 year veteran of the state cyber crimes unit, was fired this month.
Officially, Sgt. Simmons was fired for conduct unbecoming an employee. He is not facing any criminal charges and during an internal investigation, Simmons denied most but not all of the accusations.
Examining computers and cell phones for evidence of crimes, Sgt. Simmons worked to assist local, state and federal prosecutors.
Yet, according to a disciplinary memo, during one of those investigations, Simmons continued to meet with a child molestation victim after being asked to step back from the case.
The memo reads that Simmons, “Engaged in a relationship with a 14-year-old child molest victim that resulted in a complaint… and an investigation by the DCS.”
The issue now becomes whether Simmons' termination could pose a problem for prosecutors around the state who are trying cases he worked on.
“When a prosecutor files an accusation against someone, it’s a very serious matter and it’s important that the law enforcement folks that are involved with that be competent and above board and reliable,” said IPAC executive director, David Powell.
Two days ago, state police sent a letter to the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, just in case Simmons served as a witness in any criminal cases where his credibility could be a concern.
A press release shows Simmons served as a cyber crimes investigator for the state since 2015.
“We were simply trying to help facilitate the communication because these matters are important. Prosecutors certainly want to know this. They don’t want to be surprised by it,” said Powell.
While the Bartholomew County Prosecutor's Office declined to file criminal charges against Simmons, during an internal review, state police say Simmons repeatedly gave false information, including a story that his cell phone did a factory reset on its own while in his pocket.
The findings concluded Simmons also falsely denied that he “touched the 14 year old's face with his thumbs after discussing with her that thumbs reminded her of male genitalia.”
Simmons was given 15 days to appeal the decision with the Indiana State Police Board.