Admitted Child Sexual Abuser Walks Free After Prosecutor Allegedly Arrives to Court Drunk: Report

An Iowa man who admitted to sexually abusing a child walked free Monday morning after a county attorney allegedly showed up drunk to his trial, according to a report from Des Moines’ KCCI8. Clarke County Attorney Michelle Rivera allegedly arrived at the court intoxicated, and was escorted off the premises moments before Dennis Simmerman’s trial was set to begin. In the ruling, the judge wrote that “The county attorney’s unavailability at the last hearing was the finale following unexplained periods of inactivity and lack of responsiveness.” KCCI8 reports that court documents show that Simmerman admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old, but had planned to submit an Alford plea—a guilty plea in which he maintained his innocence. A legal expert who was not affiliated with the case told KCCI8 that Rivera’s alleged actions could also impact other cases she’d argued. “Law enforcement is going to wonder whether or not she is doing her job,” he said, “and the public—[who her] oath is to protect—will wonder if she was doing the job or not.”