Mother accused of abuse out on bail

Attorney hopes to make deal with prosecutors

February 01, 2003|By Reginald Fields | Reginald Fields,SUN STAFF

The West Baltimore mother accused of child abuse for allegedly leaving her children alone for days in an unheated home was bailed out of jail yesterday by her attorney and a bail bondsman.

Tiffany Simmons, 23, of the 900 block of N. Gilmor St. was released about 5:30 p.m. after her attorney, Warren Brown, and bail bondsman Cody Smith put up money to bail her out. She had been jailed since Tuesday on $50,000 bond.

Simmons was planning last night to stay with an aunt and then enroll in a city service program where she would get help finding a new home, Brown said. Her children are staying with a family member.

Brown said he is working on a deal with a city prosecutor to have Simmons plead guilty to lesser charges and be punished with probation. If the deal is approved, Simmons would have her record cleared after undergoing parental counseling and job training, Brown said.

Margaret Burns, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office, would not comment on any plea negotiations.

"The matter is under investigation, and it would be too early to comment on any pretrial negotiations," Burns said.

On Monday, a city police officer responded to a 911 call to Simmons' rowhouse where the children -- ages 6, 5, and 4 -- were found dirty, hungry and sick. The house had no heat, electricity or running water. One child had frostbite and two others had ringworm.

Simmons is charged with child abuse, reckless endangerment and other charges. Brown said Simmons had left the children on Monday with her mother, who apparently left the children alone, he said.

On Thursday, the prosecutor's office accused the Police Department of botching the investigation and providing weak evidence to support the charges.

Police officials confirmed that their initial investigation was flawed, and that a follow-up investigation involving child-abuse detectives had begun.

The detectives found a dead dog Thursday in the kitchen of Simmons' home, said police spokeswoman Ragina C. Averella. No charges had been filed regarding the animal.

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