Tutor: Teen ‘owned me up until today’

Abigail Simon on the stand on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The tutor accused of seducing her student testified for the second day on Monday, becoming emotional several times as she claimed that the then-15-year-old student physically forced her to have sex with him.

Abigail Simon, 35, is facing charges of first-degree sexual assault and accosting a minor for immoral purposes. Her trial started two weeks ago. The teen spent several days on the stand, saying that the relationship was consensual and “loving.” The defense says the alleged victim was actually the aggressor and that the petite Simon was intimidated by the 6-foot-3, 220-pound teen.

Monday, taking the stand in her own defense, Simon testified she was powerless to stop what she described as an abusive relationship.

“I never saw an end in sight,” she said. “I thought that was going to be my life forever, and I was like … just sucks. It’s so unfair.”

Abigail Simon testifies on Nov. 21, 2014.
(Abigail Simon testifies on Nov. 21, 2014.)

Simon broke down while testifying about the graphic details of her sexual relationship with the alleged victim, which started in early 2013 when she was 33 and he was 15.

Simon told the defense the teen was controlling and full of rage, and she would avoid his angry outbursts and sexual contact by telling him she loved him.

“Every thought I had was controlled by him. Every move I made, he knew what it was,” Simon testified. “He wanted to know I wasn’t doing anything unless I was sitting on my bed at home by myself, not thinking about anyone.”

“He owned me. He owned me up until today, when I could finally tell what happened,” she continued.

She said she stayed with the teen and kept quiet about the relationship out of fear for herself and him, saying he had threatened to kill himself.

She placed part of the blame on the Catholic school system in Grand Rapids for not respecting for women.

“It’s based on the fact that they spend their time preserving their athletic tradition and not respecting women period,” Simon said.

Several times during the cross-examination by Assistant Prosecutor Helen Brinkman, Simon broke down, becoming angry and defensive at times as Brinkman read aloud texts between Simon and the victim that seemed to show she enjoyed the relationship.

“You don’t deny sending … the text on March 2nd that said, ‘Oh man, I’m en route to Chicago with my little lover,” Brinkman questioned Simon.

Simon said she didn’t remember the text, but didn’t deny sending it.

Brinkman read one text to show Simon was the one upset that the teen was at a party with other girls. In another text exchanged between the alleged victim and Simon, she compared the teen to pop singer Justin Bieber, but with a better body.

Simon maintained that she was the victim in an abusive relationship. She continued to sob while on the stand. Angrily, she told Brinkman she had been raped and lashed out for the prosecutor for letting the teen testify and “lie.”

Brinkman challenged why Simon, if she was a victim, Simon she didn’t report the alleged abuse to police or tell her father about it in a long text exchange.

“I was trying to reach out,” Simon said.

“You were trying to reach out,” Brinkman repeated. “All you had to do was tell your dad on the phone, ‘I’m being beaten. I’m being raped.’ He’s a lawyer.”

“You know it’s not that easy,” Simon replied. “You know it’s not that easy.”

“It can’t be enough that you were hit by someone. It’s not enough that someone threatens you. You know that’s the truth,” Simon continued, berating the prosecutor for not believing her account of the alleged abuse. “You know.”

“Stop,” Brinkman ordered, and then continued her questioning. “Where were the threats?”

“We (the defense) showed you threats. We showed you controlling emails,” Simon said.

Simon’s testimony ended in tears. The trial then took a break so the judge and attorney could discuss jury instructions. The trial then wrapped up for the day.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning, after which the jury will receive instructions and begin to deliberate.

Simon took the stand for the first time on Friday, saying the teen forced himself on her.

“I didn’t engage in sex with him. He forced me to have sex with him,” Simon testified Friday, saying that it was against her will and she asked him to stop.

She testified she never thought of the relationship as romantic, but did admit text messages shared between her and the student were “inappropriate.”

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