Mom Says Paper Defamed Her After Tragedy

     NORFOLK (CN) – A mother found not guilty of charges related to the drowning of her toddler son says in a lawsuit that she was defamed in a newspaper article suggesting the jury got the verdict wrong.
     Christine Simmons, was indicted on October 6, 2014, on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child neglect after the accidental drowning death of her three-year-old son.
     Simmons pleaded not guilty to both charges, and on March 26, 2015, she was acquitted by a King William County jury. Thereafter, the circuit court judge presiding over the case dismissed both indictments with prejudice.
     But rather than being able to pick up the pieces of her life, Simmons says she was shocked to read an April 1, 2015 article about her case in The Daily Press and Tribune newspaper.
     Although the newspaper did accurately report the jury’s verdict, Simmons claims the article “insinuates that … although found not guilty by a jury, [Simmons[ was in fact guilty of involuntary manslaughter and felony child neglect resulting in the death of her own son.”
     “This statement is false and defamatory per se,” the complaint says.
     The article also allegedly stated that Simmons was advised by a pediatrician not to leave her son unattended in the bath, something she also says is untrue.
     Simmons seeks $49.750 on libel and state law claims.
     She is represented by W. Barry Montgomery of Kalbaugh, Pfund & Messersmith of Richmond, Va.
     Neither Simmons nor representatives of The Daily Press and Tribune responded to a request for comment from Courthouse News.

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