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Attorney defends Safford officer amid rape claim

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 01, 2020

TUCSON, AZ — The attorney representing the Safford officer accused of raping an inmate days before she died in custody says his client is innocent.

Tucson attorney Luis Fidel called the accusations "absolutely false," and says the officer's personal safety is now at risk.

"I really don't want to discuss his whereabouts or what he's doing. There have been some concerning Facebook messages and things of that nature," Fidel said.

28-year-old Jorden Simms was in jail accused of shoplifting and had another outstanding warrant involving theft and drugs. While in jail, her family says she told them she was raped by an officer. Five days later, they got a phone call saying she was in an accident.

Graham County Sheriff's officials say a medical professional who examined Jorden for sexual assault asked deputies to transport Jorden to a hospital for further testing.

While in route, the sheriff's office says Jorden removed her handcuffs, belly-chain and ankle restraints and jumped out of a moving patrol car. The family says Jorden was brain dead, and later died.

"We want answers," Jorden's aunt Crystal Barnett said. "We know that something is not right with the whole scenario."

Safford Police say the officer is on administrative leave as the Arizona Department of Public Safety investigates.

"We have every confidence that he will be cleared at the conclusion of those investigations," Fidel said.