How Gemase Simmons chewed up and spit out young fame-hungry victims for years
Published: February 20, 2013
“It’s fucking amazing,” Simmons, pretending to be “Claudia,” texted the girl. “It looks like a Disney castle.”
In an attempt to make his upcoming TV venture seem legit, Simmons would bring Diana’s mom and other parents to hear presentations at his “corporate board room,” in an office building off I-410 and Callaghan. Again, this was a ruse. Simmons had no corporate office. The friend of an underage victim worked in the building, and would occasionally shuffle them in to use a vacant conference room.
Diana testified she thought she had struck a solid friendship with “Claudia.” Soon “Claudia” asked for headshots and body shots. Eventually, she wanted nudes.
“But what does nude have to do with modeling?” Diana asked. “A lot. Are you familiar with modeling? … I’ll coach you on what to take and how,” Simmons responds, telling Diana to send photos of her privates, or “diamond area,” a bizarre term Simmons’ various personas repeat to virtually all of his victims.
Diana grew uncomfortable and told “Claudia” she wanted out. “Claudia” threatened to post her photos on the internet if she didn’t send more to “close out her file.” It didn’t make sense, but the threats soon grew in frequency and intensity. Simmons’ personas threatened to send the nude images to Diana’s pastor if she didn’t comply.
Simmons found Emily in 2011, when she was just 17 and working at Wendy’s. In text messages to the girl, Simmons pretended to be both “Keturah,” another European model, and “Kevin,” a modeling agent and Simmons’ childhood friend.
“Kevin” sent Emily photos of himself — they were, in reality, photos of a real-life sportswear model from New Jersey who knew nothing of Simmons or his scheme. Emily even developed a crush on “Kevin,” and testified she thought they were developing a romantic relationship.
When “Kevin” asked her to do a photo “session” with Simmons, she said yes. Simmons performed numerous sexual acts with the 17-year-old on camera.
“I felt belittled,” Emily said at trial.
Simmons met Natalie at a local Luby’s in 2010. Sure enough, she struck up a friendship with a “European” model via text message who convinced her to attend “fittings” with Simmons at The Shops at La Cantera, a high-end mall. In text messages, the fictitious model prodded Natalie to go to a Victoria’s Secret store with Simmons, claiming the girl was being considered for a new ad campaign. Astoundingly no one in the store noticed, or cared, when Simmons went inside the dressing room with the 17-year-old, snapping photos of her in lingerie on his iPhone. The model — who was, in reality, Simmons — kept texting Natalie to send photos of her “diamond area.” She took Simmons’ phone into the dressing room and took some nude shots.
Simmons approached Sasha, a 16-year-old, at a local H-E-B in 2011, telling her she could make serious cash as on-air talent for his new TV venture, “G2News.”
In texts, Simmons again played a young French model, this time named “Melissa.” Sasha eventually sent her nudes so she could be considered for modeling gigs.
> Email Michael Barajas