Co-Founder of Notorious Anti-Immigrant Minutemen Group Arrested on Suspicion of Sexually Molesting Three Girls

The co-founder of the Minutemen vigilante border patrol group, also a former kindergarten teacher, was arrested in Phoenix for allegedly molesting three girls, Reuters reports:

Chris Simcox, 52, who co-founded the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps in 2005, was booked into a Maricopa County jail in connection with the molestation of three girls under the age of 10, said Sergeant Tommy Thompson, a Phoenix police spokesman.

Detectives with the department’s Family Investigations Bureau developed “probable cause” that Simcox had sexual conduct with the girls during the past several months, Thompson said. No other details were immediately available.

Simcox has denied the allegations to police. It was not known if he had an attorney.

He faces two counts each of child molestation and sexual conduct with a minor, and one count of attempted child molestation.

Simcox co-founded the Minutemen in 2002 with an announcement in a local paper headlined, “Enough is Enough! A Public Call to Arms!” In his call-to-arms, Simcox asked fellow anti-immigration activists to join his brigade to “shame the government into doing its job” patrolling the US-Mexico border. For 8 years, the group patrolled the border in southern Arizona, reporting suspected migrants to US Border Patrol.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center reported, this won’t be the first time Simcox is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. In 1998, his ex-wife Deobrah Crews accused Simcox of molesting his 14-year-old daughter that he fathered with Crews. Although no charges were filed, the daughter broke off all communication with her father.

“He tried to molest our daughter when he was intoxicated,” Crews told SPLC. “When she ran out, he tried to say he was just giving her a leg massage and she got the wrong idea.”

Simcox’s alleged crimes directly contradict public rhetoric he’s used regarding his anti-immigration activism. In a speech to the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, he cried out against undocumented immigrants for “jeering at little girls walking on their way to school.” In an interview, Simcox responded to accusations of racism with a foreshadowing of today’s arrest: “When they ask me, ‘Well, what do you have to say to people who call you a racist?’ I come back at them with, ‘What do you have to say to people who call you a child molester?'”

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.

This article originally appeared on: AlterNet