AG, DPS find no evidence of sexual assault in Simms case

SAFFORD — An investigation found no basis for sexual assault allegations against a Safford Police officer and a Graham County Sheriff’s Office detention officer.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office issued a declination letter Nov. 3, 2020, absolving Safford Officer Jeremiah French. French had been accused of sexual assault by an inmate in December 2019.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Special Investigations Unit investigated the claims, following the death of the inmate — Jorden Simms — during transport by Graham County Sheriff’s Office between Sierra Vista and Graham County Jail on Dec. 26, 2019.

The investigation found no evidence to substantiate Simms claims against French, and an internal investigation by Safford Police last month came to the same conclusion.

In a news release issued Monday, Jan. 4, Sheriff P.J. Allred said his agency received a similar letter from the Attorney General’s Office in regard to Simms’ sexual assault allegations against the unidentified corrections officer.

Allred said the investigation found “no reasonable likelihood of conviction,” and “no crime committed.”

“The Safford Police Department would like to thank the Arizona Department of Public Safety Special Investigations Unit, as well as the State of Arizona Attorney General’s Office, for their diligence in bringing this matter to a conclusion. Throughout this ordeal, Officer French’s status within the Safford Police Department has been steadfast. With this resolution, the Safford Police Department considers this a closed matter,” Safford Police Chief Glen Orr said in a prepared statement.

Editor’s note: This story was edited at 4:21 p.m. Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, to include information regarding the allegations against a Graham County Sheriff’s Office corrections officer.