Former LDS music teacher accused of abuse has history of church problems Michael Simms was kicked out of another denomination's church in Salt Lake City

The Woodburn Independent, Oregon/December 22, 2009

Woodburn - The former Woodburn resident accused of sexually abusing a boy while serving as a music teacher at a local Mormon church has had problems at other churches, according to acquaintances.

Michael Simms, who has been accused of abuse, including fondling and digital sodomy about 100 times between 1974 and 1976, now lives in Salt Lake City.

An acquaintance of Simms in Salt Lake City, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Simms was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

However, LDS representatives could not confirm the excommunication, citing the confidentiality of church records. Simms then reportedly joined the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC).

However, according to MCC Pastor Dee Bradshaw, Simms was asked to leave about 10 years ago.

"He was disrupting the service and then he stole some stuff and then he was asked to leave," said Bradshaw. "Well, clean it up or not come back and he chose not to come back."

Bradshaw said he didn't remember a lot about Simms, except that he used to go by "Michelle" at their church. He said Simms identified himself as a transgendered person.

"Other than the disrupting ... he didn't interact a whole lot with people," Bradshaw said.

"He used to sing once in awhile because he had a good voice."

The Salt Lake City man said he was an acquaintance of Simms and was able to gain insight into his personality.

"Michael Simms, like a lot of other mentally ill people, is very adept at manipulation of other people," said the anonymous source. "He's a person who's extraordinarily egocentric."

He said before getting kicked out of the MCC, there had been some concern about his behavior with some of the younger parishioners.

"Mike Simms was kissing boys on the lips there and even the folks at the MCC, they felt pretty uncomfortable about that," he said. "He was doing that right in the church building."

He added that he was not a direct witness to the behavior.

However, Bradshaw stressed he was not aware of any inappropriate behavior with children during Simms' time at MCC.

In 2007, Simms was featured in a Salt Lake Tribune story about a diversity dinner at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center. He talked at that time about struggles with mental illness and obesity.

He was quoted in the newspaper saying, "Don't judge people, just take them as they are."

In the story, Simms was described as a 52-year-old American Indian raised by a Caucasian family.

Simms is being sued by an Oregon man calling himself "David Doe," now 46 years old, who claims the abuse took place at a Mormon church in Woodburn, when he was between the ages of 11 and 13.

Simms was in his early 20s at the time.

On Monday, a man named Michael Simms answered the phone at his Salt Lake City residence, but would not comment for the story. He said the questions needed to be directed to a Salt Lake City defense attorney.

The law firm he cited did not have record of him being a client.

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