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June 20, 2013

Former Border Vigilante Leader Arrested For Child Molestation


Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

Phoenix, Arizona police officers arrested once-prominent vigilante leader Chris Simcox, 52, on June 19 on child molestation charges.  Authorities have charged Simcox with two counts of child molestation, one count of attempted child molestation, and two counts of sexual conduct with a minor.  According to police, Simcox had allegedly molested several victims, all girls under 10 years of age, within recent months.

The arrest marked a new low for Simcox, who at one point in the mid-2000s achieved national notoriety for his high-profile vigilante patrols along the Arizona-Mexico border as one of the founders of the Minuteman Project.  However, his fall from grace was just as rapid as his ascent.

Simcox spent his early adult years as a kindergarten teacher in California, before moving to Tombstone, Arizona, where he bought a tiny newspaper, the Tombstone Tumbleweed, in 2002.  Simcox used the newspaper as an outlet for his anti-immigration views and soon issued a call for a “Citizens Border Patrol Militia” to patrol the border with Mexico.  Simcox subsequently started an early border vigilante group, Civil Homeland Defense.  By 2004, he had received probation and a fine following a conviction for carrying a firearm onto a national park.

In 2005, Simcox banded together with Californian Jim Gilchrist to form the Minuteman Project, a high-profile effort to get mainstream support for border vigilante activities.  In this, Simcox and Gilchrist were at first quite successful, garnering national attention and spawning various “Minuteman” groups across the country.  For a brief period of time, Simcox could hobnob with politicians such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rick Perry. 

However, Simcox and Gilchrist could not get along and parted ways, splitting the Minuteman Project into two separate organizations.  Simcox’s half became the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) and focused on border vigilante activity.  Because of Simcox’s lack of leadership skills, as well as financial scandals, the group went into decline, shedding members and chapters.  In 2009, Simcox attempted a different tactic, stepping down from MCDC leadership and announcing he would attempt to unseat Arizona Senator John McCain.  This was no more successful; by early 2010, he dropped out of the race.

The molestation charges against Simcox are the first such criminal charges against him, but not the first allegations against him related to children.  In 2005, Deborah Crews, one of Simcox’s ex-wives, told the Southern Poverty Law Center that in 1998 Simcox allegedly “tried to molest our daughter when he was intoxicated.”  No charges were apparently filed.  A second ex-wife, Kim Dunbar, filed a successful legal appeal for full custody of their son.  She alleged that Simcox had violent rages, including one incident in which she said Simcox slapped his four-year-old son hard enough to leave a mark lasting days.

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June 5, 2012

May Not So Merry For White Supremacists

April ended with a shock to the racist world, as prominent Arizona white supremacist and border vigilante J.T. Ready fatally shot four people before turning his gun on himself.   White supremacists would not be given a chance to catch their breaths, however, as the month of May continued to serve them setback after setback.
Christopher Brooks of American Front
On the heels of the Ready murder-suicide came a high profile incident in Florida in early May, in which law enforcement officers rounded up almost the entire Florida contingent of the hardcore racist skinhead group American Front on weapons, paramilitary training, and hate crimes charges.  To date, authorities have made 14 arrests.  According to court documents, the group allegedly conducted paramilitary training to prepare for an “inevitable race war” and discussed possible acts of violence ranging from shooting at a house to attacking an anti-racist group.
This just set the stage for a wave of arrests and setbacks to the white supremacist movement in May, including:
  • In mid-May, Virginia neo-Nazi Bill White became a fugitive, announcing that he had “left the country,” though authorities think otherwise.  White, who had been released from prison in April, missed a re-sentencing court hearing and possibly feared he might be sent back to prison.
  • On May 19, anti-racist activists crashed a Chicago-area white supremacist event billed as an “economic summit,” attacking attendees and sending three to the hospital.  Police arrested five anti-racists on charges related to the attack.  Adding insult to injury, police also arrested two of the attendees of the white supremacist event—one for child pornography and the other for unlawful possession of weapons by a felon.
  • On May 30, Joliet resident Brian Moudry, a long-time Chicago-area white supremacist associated with the Creativity Movement, was arrested on federal arson and civil rights charges in connection with the 2007 arson of an African-American family’s house a few doors down from Moudry’s.
  • Also on May 30, agents from the Washington, D.C., Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Virginia white supremacist Douglas Howard Story for allegedly attempting to obtain a fully automatic AK-47.  Story had a track record of on-line comments about responding with violence to encounters with police and about how President Obama might be assassinated.

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