Anti-immigration activist Chris Simcox, who co-founded border patrol militia Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (not to be confused with the Minutemen Project) in 2005, was convicted of two counts of child molestation in Arizona on Wednesday, Slate reports.
According to the Associated Press, the 55-year-old former kindergarten teacher represented himself at trial, allowing him to personally question the victim and another child he alleged molested on the stand. From Reuters:
Prosecutors said Simcox preyed on the 5-year-old girl, who was the friend of one of his daughters, during scheduled parental visits with his children. He also showed the victim explicit films, prosecutors said.
“This young girl had the courage to come forward to stop the abuse and by doing so revealed his predatory behavior,” County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement. “With this verdict we have been able to seek justice for this victim.”
A former kindergarten teacher from California, Simcox helped start the border watch group to highlight what he said was the government’s failure to secure the porous southwest border with Mexico.
In 2010, Simcox left the MCDC and briefly ran against Senator John McCain in the Republican primary. That same year, co-founder J.T. Ready, a former neo-Nazi, left to form his own group, the U.S. Border Guard. In 2012, Ready fatally shot his girlfriend, her daughter, her daughter’s boyfriend, her infant granddaughter and himself.
Simcox now faces up to 48 years in prison. His sentencing his scheduled for July 5.