Frederick attorney charged in prostitution sting

A longtime Frederick lawyer who was allegedly caught attempting to pay a woman for sex could walk away from any criminal charges, according to documents filed in the Magistrate Court of Berkeley County, W.Va.

West Virginia State Police officers found Roger C. Simmons, 65, at a West Virginia motel during a February prostitution sting.

Officers arrested Simmons, co- founder of Gordon & Simmons LLC, and three other men from West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Simmons faces a solicitation of prostitution charge, but the charge could be dismissed within six months if a resolution presented last week to a West Virginia judge by a prosecuting attorney is accepted, according to the prosecuting attorney’s office.

Until then, the court has ordered Simmons to stay out of trouble. The resolution could be revoked if Simmons commits a jailable offense while he waits.

Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christine Riley could not be reached for comment.

“It is what it is,” Cpl. J.M. Walker of the West Virginia State Police said of the resolution in a phone interview.

Walker said the resolution is not what arresting officers asked for; they are moving forward with plans to set up another operation if necessary.

“We had about 20 calls in probably an hour,” Walker said of the February sting.

Simmons and others responded to an advertisement for an adult escort, he said. Police had set up the ad with help from a woman.

The woman agreed to act as a confidential informant in exchange for police dropping some of her criminal charges, Walker said.

Her ad was connected to a state police telephone and computer.

“I was amazed,” Walker said Monday. “The phone was ringing off the hook.”

He listened to a number of calls that day, he said. Some callers were available right away, while others asked about setting up a time to meet later.

Simmons arranged to meet the woman at 2:30 p.m. that day; he showed up with $100 in cash, the documents state. His call was monitored by task force officers and troopers.

He gave the money to the woman and then exposed himself to prove he was not a police officer, the documents state.

After Simmons exposed himself, officers entered the room and arrested him, the documents state.

Authorities set up their operation at the Super 8 Motel within walking distance of their police station, Walker said. The money Simmons allegedly offered would have paid for about an hour with the escort. The agency listened to a variety of bids.

Defense attorney Kate B. Harding declined to comment on the case.

As a lawyer, Simmons specializes in commercial litigation, including construction litigation, major defamation litigation and legal malpractice, according to his online biography. He has also represented churches and charities, and has negotiated with federal special prosecutors.

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