A movement hero, Roy Simmons, passes on

Our first SNAP member who played in the NFL and to publicly speak out about his childhood trauma, Roy Simmons, has passed away, and our hearts go out to his family during this difficult and painful time.

Over the past decade, Roy joined us several times in several states (Massachusetts, Ohio and elsewhere) pushing to eliminate and extend the biggest legal roadblock to protecting kids – the archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly statutes of limitations. He also bravely spoke at several SNAP events. (In fact, if you look at the photo accompanying Roy's obituary in the New York Times, you can see photos of other SNAP members in the background.)

Roy found it both embarrassing and painful to speak publicly about his childhood abuse, even after so many years have passed since it happened. But he spoke up anyway. He said “it isn’t easy, but I can endure this if it will help another child. It hurts so much and I don’t want anyone else to endure this. Kids should not have to suffer like I did.”

He inspired others to speak up too.

Lawmakers - and others - listened when Roy talked. It wasn't just his size and his gentle but impressive demeanor. It was also his unusual candor. He frankly shared the pain he endured as a child but also the many unexpected after-effects of his childhood trauma that plagued much of his adult life.

According to the New York Times:

He said he had been sexually assaulted as a boy by a man he did not know well, a devastating event that caused him trauma and confusion and was not spoken about within his family.

Simmons spoke candidly at a press conference about his own experiences of being sexually abused by a neighbor when he was 11-years-old.

"I remember it as though it happened yesterday," Simmons said. "I will never forget the pain and paranoia. I felt that is was my fault."

“I think all my life it affected me,” he said. “The acting out — the sex with the boys, the girls — the drinking.”


Personally, I'm especially saddened by Roy's passing for several reasons. He was the same age I was and we were both raised in conservative communities (he in Georgia, me in Missouri). And we grew up in cultures that largely worshiped football and despised gays. So I'm perhaps more impressed than younger people might be by Roy's courage.

He will be sorely missed.


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  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-03-05 13:40:15 -0600
    Having been a member of SNAP for one year now, and having viewed, read and followed everything that I could about this specific “scandal” in the catholic church, I have decided that my personal current course of action now, is to encourage and “call for” the leaders of SNAP in the United States and those attorneys willingly affliated with SNAP, to please write legal petitions for U.S. members to sign and for them to get signed, that call for a referendum to vote for the abolishment of all SOL laws applied to and regarding crimes committed by pedophiles against children and disabled adults; including but not limited to crimes committed by catholic pedophile priests, heirarchy and laity in the United States and its territories. Please let us do a “grass roots campaign”, via the internet if necessary, as our current president did to get elected; to achieve this very obviously important and necessary change to both our criminal and civil laws. The scourge must be STOPPED! Surely, it must be clear to all of us now, that they, (the pope and all the other leaders of the catholic church), will not do it for us. The scourge must be STOPPED! I believe that the United States of America is a uniquely qualified place to be able to achieve at least this portion of the battle against enabled pedophiles in the catholic church. WE CAN DO IT! WE CAN DO IT HERE!!!
  • Friend E
    commented 2014-03-01 17:35:17 -0600
    He demonstrated his physical strength on the playing field but I am very touched by the strength it took on his part to break the silence and speak out. May he rest in peace…..
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