Bond set for Palmetto High student charged with raping another student

jdeleon@bradenton.comSeptember 6, 2013 


MANATEE -- A Manatee County judge on Thursday set bond for a Palmetto High School student charged with raping another student.

Darrell Simmons Jr, 18, was arrested Wednesday morning after police say he confessed that he forced himself on a female student.

Simmons appeared before a Manatee County judge Thursday morning, and bail was set at $15,000. He is charged with sexual battery on a minor.

The reported sexual battery occurred on or about March 18 during lunchtime at Palmetto High School. Police say Simmons forced the female student into the boys rest room and then forced himself on her despite her trying to escape and saying no.

The incident was reported to police by school staff sometime in April or May, according to Palmetto Police Deputy Chief Scott Tyler.

"The parents of the victim also brought her into us around the same time," Tyler said. "We vigorously pursued the case back then."

Simmons had previously denied using force when he was interviewed by police April 23. On Wednesday morning, when he came in for another interview, he admitted to police that he forced the victim to have sex with him in the bathroom the first time.

The two students knew one another, Tyler said. However, police have received conflicting reports on the nature of the relationship.

Numerous calls to Palmetto High School Principal Willie Clark went unreturned. Manatee County School District Director of Communications and spokesman Steve Valley issued a statement.

"The charges filed by the Palmetto Police Department yesterday against a student at Palmetto High School are extremely serious and the Manatee County School District is committed to cooperating fully throughout the course of this case," Valley stated. "Palmetto High School administrators, including Principal Willie Clark, have been aware of the allegations since last April and responded in accordance with the School District of Manatee County's Code of Student Conduct. Because this is an ongoing criminal matter and involves student confidentiality, the Manatee County School District and Palmetto High School officials are prohibited from commenting on this matter."

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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