A Hazleton City Police investigation ended with a felony arrest and incarceration. The investigation began on June 29th, 2018, with the Hazleton City Police, Luzerne County District Attorney's Office and the Luzerne County Children and Youth into suspected child abuse, with victims ages 8 and 4 at the time of the abuse.
Ralph Simmons, pictured above, is charged with the following:
Corruption of Minors (relating to sexual offenses): Two counts, Felony 3
Indecent Assault (victim less than 13 years of age): Two counts, M1
According to an HPD press release, the children were forensically interviewed at the Luzerne County Child Advocacy Center. The investigation revealed that both juveniles were staying at Simmons residence for a sleep over when the incident occurred. All three were in the same bed, with Simmons in the middle, when Simmons began rubbing one of the children below the waist with his hands.
It's alleged that he continued by placing his private area against the juvenile’s buttocks. The victim jumped out of bed and went to lay down on the opposite side of the bed, furthest away from SIMMONS. At this time SIMMONS began doing the exact same thing to the second victim, which was now in the middle of the bed. He began by touching the victim below the waist and then rubbed his private area against the second juvenile’s buttocks in a humping motion.
Simmons was taken into custody on the above listed charges and arraigned in front of Magistrate Zola. Simmons was remanded to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on $50,000 straight bail.
Statement by Hazleton City Police Chief Jerry Speziale:
"The men and women will work with our counterparts to insure the safety of our children in the community and vigorously pursue those that attempt or commit such an act."
"The mission of the Hazleton City Police Department is to enhance the quality of life in our City by working in partnership with the community to enforce the law, preserve peace, reduce fear, and maintain order. The Hazleton Police Department is committed to accomplishing its mission of protecting the lives and property of all the citizens and visitors of Hazleton by treating everyone with compassion, courtesy, professionalism, and respect, while efficiently rendering public safety services and enforcing the laws impartially, by fighting crime both through deterrence and the relentless pursuit of criminals."