Editor’s note: The following story depicts details of a sex crime that a man is accused of committing. Some readers might find the details disturbing.
ITHACA, N.Y. — A man is facing several felony charges after a woman said he attacked her and forced her to commit a sex act in Ithaca last week — a woman who he has a history of abusing in the past.
Davonne Simeon, 24, is being held at the Tompkins County Jail on $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond. He’s charged with first-degree criminal sex act, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, second-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree criminal contempt.
Court documents and testimony from witnesses at Wednesday’s Felony Preliminary Hearing at Ithaca City Court dictate the following narrative about the crimes:
Simeon was released from jail in December and, at the a woman’s request, a full stay away order of protection against him was reduced recently to a non-harassment order of protection. This means the two could legally have contact with each other.
In court, the woman said she requested the lesser order of protection because she loved the man and wanted to be in a relationship with him.
Shortly after the order of protection was reduced, the woman wrote,”Once Davonne found out about the OOP being dropped it seems as if his anger has spiraled out of control against me.”
She said he became aggressive toward her, blaming her for why he was incarcerated last year. She also said that he attacked her several times, with a witness testified that she heard one of the attacks on the phone. Simeon is not currently facing charges for that alleged incident.
On Sept. 22, however, court documents state that Simeon laid next to the woman in bed around 3 a.m. and, after she declined to have sex with him, choked her at least twice that morning.
Then, on the morning of Sept. 24, Simeon is accused of slapping the woman and forcing her to give him oral sex. Afterward, the two had sex, which the woman said made her feel “disgusting” and was something she said she did out of fear.
In court, both Simeon and the woman cried as she gave testimony about the abuse, recounting a history of abuse between them.
Simeon has also been convicted of a second-degree criminal trespassing charge involving the woman and was sentenced to a year in jail for it. He also spent about half a year in jail in 2015 after being convicted of fourth-degree criminal mischief in an incident involving the same woman.
Despite the tears early on, Simeon eventually became confrontational, either interrupting court proceedings with accusations about the woman and sighing loudly when a witness said something he apparently disagreed with. He also repeatedly raised his hand during the proceedings wanting to speak, despite being told he would later get the chance to testify.
“If you have any more outbursts, you will be held in contempt,” Judge Scott Miller told Simeon, who went on to interrupt the court one more time by mouthing words at the judge.
Both the woman and a friend who overheard the fight on the phone testified about the abuse, providing explicit details.
At the conclusion of the witnesses’ testimony, attorney Kristine Shaw said her client was under the impression that the sex act committed was consensual.
“We can’t have Mr. Simeon be a mind reader in these situations,” she said, noting that there was no testimony that indicated that the woman asked Simeon to stop or not be sexual with her.
Assistant District Attorney Diane Lama disagreed, saying “just because she didn’t say the magic word no” doesn’t mean Simeon had any reason to believe a woman he’d just allegedly hit and was crying wanted to have oral sex with him.
“He choked her two times less than 24-hours before this incident,” Lama said.
Miller agreed with Lama about the strength of the evidence, saying the people had shown that there was reasonable cause to believe a felony had taken place, even proving that there was reason to believe that Simeon may have raped the woman.
Miller said that just because the woman didn’t say no doesn’t mean she was giving consent. Otherwise, he said, “We’ve been set back 200 years into the 19th century.”
Miller increased Simeon’s bail to $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond, twice the original amount.
“These charges are extremely serious,” Miller said. “If convicted, state prison is a certainty of at least five years and potentially 25 years.”
Simeon is also currently facing charges involving a 15-year-old girl he did not know. He is facing charges of fourth-degree stalking, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, first-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. Court documents about the additional charges were not available The Ithaca Voice Wednesday afternoon because the clerk’s office was closed after the hearing concluded.
If you or somebody you know is suffering from domestic violence or otherwise unsafe from an abuser, contact The Advocacy Center of Tompkins County. Their website is available here and their 24-hour hotline number is 607-277-5000.