Tutor convicted of sex with student appeals

abigail simon
Abigail Simon's Jan. 1, 2015 mug shot from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A former Grand Rapids Catholic Central high school tutor serving a prison sentence for having sex with a student is asking to have her conviction tossed out.

In an appeal filed on June 15 in 17th Circuit Court, Abigail Simon argued the judge’s instructions to the jury of 11 women and one man undercut her defense — that she was the victim of rape and the teen was her attacker. She also claimed her original defense attorney, Michael Manley, was ineffective because he failed to object to those jury instructions.

Additionally, she claimed that part of her sentence ordering her to wear an electronic monitor for life was unconstitutional because it is cruel and unusual.

Simon was accused of having sex with a then-15-year-old Grand Rapids Catholic Central student who she was tutoring. During her 11-day trial in November 2014, she claimed that she was the victim in the case and that the teen had forced her into having sex.

The jury didn’t believe her. Simon, 35, was convicted of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and a count of accosting a child for immoral purposes. She was sentenced in January to between eight and 25 years in prison.

Simon’s case was featured on “Dateline NBC” just days before the appeal was filed.

>>Online: The full “Dateline” episode

A hearing has been set for later this month.

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