Suspect in PJC sexual assault faces competency hearing

Home News Suspect in PJC sexual assault faces competency hearing



The Corsair

The suspect in a sexual assault on the Pensacola campus last spring will go before a judge on Nov. 30 to determine whether he is mentally competent to stand trial, according to the state attorney’s office.

Jaworski Lee Simmons, 28, was charged with forcible sexual battery, battery and kidnapping/false imprisonment following the April 22 incident in a women’s restroom in building 1, home to mathematics and developmental studies at PJC.

According to police reports, the suspect allegedly forced a young woman into sexual contact in a restroom stall about 12:45 p.m.

The female student told police she had just bought her lunch when she decided to use the restroom. Leaving her purse, food and phone in her car, she encountered a “soft-spoken” black male, approximately 5’7” in the vicinity of the restroom.

The suspect approached her and asked if she had a boyfriend and if he could have her number. She replied “yes [I have a boyfriend]” and “I can’t [give out the number].”

The suspect persisted, saying, “Let me get your number; he’ll never know.”

“I’ll know,” she recalled saying.

She then entered into the restroom, located at the north end of building 1, and the suspect followed her in. According to the police report, she told him several times to leave.

When she thought he had gone, she entered the stall. Then she saw a pair of white shoes under the stall. 

Again, she told the man to leave.

“Let me get your number,” he said as he started to crawl under the door. The victim began screaming as the two struggled. After entering the stall, he forced her into sexual contact, the police report said.

The suspect then fled the bathroom, and the victim immediately ran to the PJC Police Department in nearby building 5 and told officers what had occurred.

On the day of the assault, according to PJC Police Sergeant Lisa Van Natter, five women other than the victim reported being approached by a man similar to the suspect’s description, all between 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. One woman was in building 21 (about 11:30 a.m.), one in building 8 (11:45), two in building 4 (about noon) and one in building 1 (12:35).

During an investigation over the next three days, at least two other men were picked up in connection with the crime but were later released.

The suspect was selected from a photo lineup by several witnesses. He was picked up on April 25 and taken to Escambia County jail for questioning.
According to police, the suspect initially denied ever being at PJC but later said he was there and did have consensual sex with the victim. Then he recanted, saying he never had sexual contact with the victim at all.
Simmons was booked into the jail and held on $425,000 bail. A court later determined that he was mentally incompetent to stand trial at that time and sent him to Florida State Hospital for evaluation.

This is not the first time Simmons has been found incompetent to stand trial, nor the first time he has faced sexual assault charges.

In 2003 and in 2008, Simmons was charged in separate incidents with sexual assault. These cases were “nolle prossed,” according to court records.

Nolle prosequi is a Latin term used in the court system to represent the state’s willingness to no longer prosecute. It may be used in cases in which charges can no longer be proved or in which evidence has shown innocence on behalf of the accused.



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