How Gemase Simmons chewed up and spit out young fame-hungry victims for years
Published: February 20, 2013
As the trial progressed, prosecutors “pulled back the curtain,” Biery wrote in his verdict, revealing “multiple personas reminiscent of Catch Me If You Can and The Great Imposter.”
The government’s case painted Simmons a hypnotic assailant, using “wizardly manipulation,” as Biery put it, to sexually exploit and prey on the naiveté of teens. Simmons created a sleazy, faux underworld that chewed up and spit out terrified — and in at least a couple cases, suicidal — victims.
Simmons’ attorneys urged him to enter a plea and to avoid testifying. He ignored them. On the stand, he spun delusional, convoluted, and contradictory excuses in an attempt to explain his sins.
Biery wrote that Simmons’ “mental gymnastics” on the stand perhaps indicate he truly believes his own defense: that unknown phantoms victimized these men and women. That the multiple personalities Simmons created reside not only on his iPhone, iPads, and iMac, but also in his head.
“Another title apropos for this drama,” wrote Biery, “is Something Wicked This Way Comes.” ***
Gemase Lee Simmons, 36, is a chameleon of the digital age. He’s taken to the web to call himself an R&B artist, political consultant, accomplished author and actor, TV producer — even a minister.
According to available records, family, past acquaintances, and court testimony, he’s none of these things. Simmons had a lengthy rap sheet before the FBI caught up to him. In 2003 he was slapped for public lewdness, caught having sex with a man in a public restroom at HemisFair Park. In 2004, Simmons was arrested for failure to ID when he gave police his younger brother’s name instead of his own. He faced numerous theft charges in 2002, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Bishop David Copeland with San Antonio’s New Creation Christian Fellowship recalls when Simmons was part of his congregation in the late 1990s. Simmons routinely lied to new members, claiming he was a bishop, Copeland says.
“I had to stand before the congregation to inform members that Gemase was not, in fact, a minister,” he told the Current. Keith Graham, formerly a pastor with New Creation, testified in court that Simmons was eventually booted from the flock “because of an untoward relationship we found out about with a guy.” He did not elaborate.
Perhaps more than any other character, Simmons loved playing the role of supermodel. It’s a stretch, given Simmons’ short stature and unremarkable physical features.
Before the FBI caught him last year, Simmons was best known for a reality TV venture that bombed in spectacular fashion. An NBC Dateline piece that ran in 2008 chronicled how Simmons convinced dozens of young, aspiring models to participate in an America’s Next Top Model-esque reality show, which Simmons dubbed “Gemase Model Reality.” He lied about his past, how the program was funded (it wasn’t funded), and which networks would carry it (none had agreed to). He insisted contestants shout “supermodel on deck!” whenever he walked into a room.
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