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The press blames the Internet. Newsweek ran a story titled "Did the Net Kill Eddie?" The New York Post's front page read "Cyber Psycho." While they were at it, the press even pointed a finger at the PTA, criticizing it and other organizations for making kids like Eddie Werner pimp their wares door-to-door to make money for them.
Although every other finger points at him, Steve Simmons blames the world for painting him the scapegoat, the wicked adult who destroyed the lives of two innocent children. He says the world has to put him in jail for the maximum just to feel better that an evil force was involved.
But if they're gonna take three years of his life away for being a scapegoat, he's willing to play the scapegoat all the way to Oprah.
"People may hate me, but they'll buy," Simmons says slyly. "The Manzies and the Werners are going to make me rich."
'Sometimes you run into a kid who just wants, and you give.'
"Most pedophiles are bad," Steve Simmons explains. But that's not to say there aren't "good" pedophiles, he adds.
The way Simmons sees it, "bad" pedophiles are the guys in NAMBLAthe North American Man/Boy Love Association. "If I could, I would destroy it," Simmons says forcefully. "I'll never buy the fact that a 6- or 7-year-old has sexualityuntil that child understands what sexuality is, and that's 12, 13, 14 years old."
Simmons claims to be a "good" pedophile. "People who are pedophiles can't change, anymore than an alcoholic can change or a drug addict can change," says Simmons. "There are some who truly care about children. There are pedophiles in this world who never have sex. The man who enjoys coaching, Boy Scout leaders. They're pedophiles to a certain extent. Sometimes you run into a kid who just wants, and you give."
He claims to know a lot more about children than their parents know. He says he's written a book in jail on how parents can communicate with their kids. It tells parents that they must talk to their children early in life or else they will never talk to them later. He admits he has no publisher yet; clearly, it's too early for publishers to see Steve Simmons as a child-rearing expert.
The son of a printer, Simmons was born in London on November 25, 1953. The family moved to America in 1959 and settled in Brooklyn. Steve says he didn't even have sex until his early 20s. He married a woman in 1976. She was 22, he was 23. They broke up, he says, because she wouldn't get a job.
He spent time in Florida and New York, making T-shirts for a living and spending some of his spare time working in community theater. And he came out of the sexual closet. He claims he was a good-standing member of Long Island's gay communitya regular at the annual CERF-PAC picnics, a member of the now-defunct Gays and Lesbians of Brookhaven. He made the T-shirts for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and the Long Island Pride Parade.
In July 1991, he married a man also named Steve in the backyard of the home they shared on Windermere Drive in Holbrook. The man, "Big Steve," was more than 15 years older than Simmons.
Age differences apparently haven't always mattered to Simmonsor they've mattered too much. When asked how many sexual relationships he has had with young men or youths, Simmons pauses and then says, "Can I really answer that question? The law says there's been four. That's as far as I can go."
He's referring to the four boys he had sex with in incidents that resulted in prosecution. In 1978 in Daytona Beach, Fla., Simmons was put on probation for three years for attempted lewd and lascivious behavior in the presence of a child. In 1984, he was arrested in Brooklyn after another incident. Two years later he pled guilty to second-degree sodomy and spent two years in Dannemora.
"You're going back into the '80s," Simmons complains. "Back then, I was a different me. I was doing it more for self-gratification. But some of them came out very well. When you meet them11, 12, 13they're already smoking pot, cutting school. Six or seven years later, they're a sophomore in college."
The way Simmons tells it, the Brooklyn case reads like a dark little novel: He met a 13-year-old boy and had a sexual relationship with him for three years. When the boy turned 16, he told Simmons he was going to run away from home. "I was very suicidal in the '80s," Simmons recalls. "I was telling people I was going to Texas. But I would never see Texas. I was going to kill myself in Pennsylvania. We leave. We got to Texas and everything that could go wrong, went wrong."
The kid, he says, was picked up by the police for possession of marijuana and he was forced to turn in Simmons. "I did my time," says Simmons. "I'm not still in touch with him." But, as if to say that sometimes his touch is golden, Simmons says he's heard that the boy, now in his early 30s, "is leading a gay life and happy doing so."