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Attorney could have solicitation charge dropped

June 20, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Frederick, Md., attorney who was among four men arrested in a prostitution sting in February will have the opportunity to have the misdemeanor charge filed against him dismissed.

Rogers Charles Simmons, 65, was charged with one count of solicitation of prostitution after police said he responded to an Internet adult escort advertisement, according to court documents.

The charge will be dismissed in six months if Simmons is not charged with any jailable offenses in that time, according to a resolution that Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christine Riley presented Wednesday morning to Magistrate Jim Humphrey.

The investigating officer in the case was not at Wednesday’s hearing, but Riley said she was told by defense attorney Kate B. Harding that the officer was aware of the proposed agreement.

Simmons, co-founder of Gordon & Simmons LLC, was given the opportunity to have the case dismissed because he had “absolutely no criminal record,” Riley said.

Simmons, who appeared briefly in court, had no comment about the case.

The sting, which involved a confidential informant, occurred Feb. 9 at the Super 8 motel in Martinsburg, police have said.

All four men had unknowingly arranged to meet with the informant at the hotel at 2048 Edwin Miller Blvd. while responding to the Internet ad, the court documents said.

Brent Alan Chrisman, 40, of Inwood, W.Va.; Jeffrey Marc Nievod, 30, of Reisterstown, Md.; and Subbiah Venkatachalam, 44, of Downingtown, Pa., also were charged with solicitation of prostitution in the sting, the documents said.

Police had said that Simmons, Nievod and Venkatachalam individually met with a confidential informant in a hotel room at the Super 8 and gave her $100 for sex, the documents said. Officers then entered the room and arrested them.

Chrisman gave the informant $50 for sexual acts, the  documents said.

Chrisman, who has prior arrests, was fined $50 and ordered to pay court costs, the documents said. A six-month jail sentence was suspended, and Chrisman was also placed on one year of unsupervised probation.

The charge against Nievod was dismissed last week because evidence in the case had not been provided by the prosecution to his attorney, while Venkatchalam’s case is still pending, the documents said.

Police said the phone calls involving the prostitution sting were monitored by troopers and members of the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

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