- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 5, 2010

An Arizona court has ruled that an order of protection against Minuteman co-founder Chris Simcox sought by his estranged wife as part of a messy divorce case be continued “in full force,” saying evidence shows that he committed an act of violence.

The petition, sought by Alena Simcox, alleges that Mr. Simcox threatened her and their children with a loaded handgun, saying he would kill them and any police officers who came to their aid. The order initially was signed April 16 and continued after a hearing Thursday in Superior Court in Phoenix.

“The court finds that conflicting testimony has been presented on every allegation and the court must make a determination of credibility. Defendant has a prior conviction involving dishonesty,” wrote Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner J. Justice McQuire.

“The court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant has committed an act of domestic violence within the last year,” he said. “The court further finds that good cause exists to continue the order of protection in this case.”

The order demands that Mr. Simcox, 49, not contact his wife or children, that he stay away from their home and that he surrender his firearms to the Scottsdale Police Department.

Carmen Mercer, one of the co-founders of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps who has served as a spokeswoman for Mr. Simcox, said Sunday that all parties in the case have been issued a gag order and none can talk to the media.

In court documents, Mrs. Simcox, 30, said her husband of four years threatened her in November with a gun he “repeatedly pointed at me, saying he was going to kill me and my kids and the police.” She said the ordeal lasted six hours, during which she locked herself and her children in a bedroom until Mr. Simcox passed out.

Afraid for her safety, the documents say, she did not call police. She said Mr. Simcox “was waiting by the door for the police to come, with a gun pointed at me.” In a separate filing, she said Mr. Simcox got drunk on their wedding anniversary in August, loaded a revolver and, with his children present, asked her to shoot him.

The documents say that when Mrs. Simcox said no, Mr. Simcox said “he would shoot the entire family and cops.” She petitioned for divorce on April 19.

The protective order bars Mr. Simcox from having any contact with his wife and their minor children, Zoe and Chloe, “except through attorneys, legal process or court hearings.”

On a recent posting on his Web page, Mr. Simcox said in a rambling report that while he was “compelled … by a divine power” to create the Minuteman movement and that he spent nine years of his life trying to fulfill the mission, his effort had led to his “falling short in all my relationships, most notably my duty to my wife and family.”

“At this stage of my life and after applying my obligation to love my country I now must love with my whole person; I must commit to love my God first, my family second and my duty to country, as important as it is, now comes behind my primary duties to get my whole person behind my nexus of love, my feelings, my thoughts, my actions — my God and my family come first,” he said.

Mr. Simcox and Jim Gilchrist, a retired California certified public accountant and combat-wounded Vietnam veteran, founded the Minuteman operation in April 2005. They parted ways over policy and financing differences later that year.

A growing number of Minuteman leaders and volunteers eventually questioned the whereabouts of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, challenging the organization’s leadership over financial accountability.

Many of the group’s most active members said they had no idea how much money had been collected as part of its effort to stop illegal entry, how it had been spent or why it had been funneled through a Virginia-based charity headed by conservative Alan Keyes.

Several of the group’s top lieutenants either quit or were fired by Mr. Simcox. The MCDC disbanded in March. The financial problems were first reported by The Washington Times.

The new divorce accusations are not the first time Mr. Simcox has faced an angry wife. Two former wives have accused him in court documents of violent conduct.

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