By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — A 42-year-old Wausau man will spend the next 24 years in prison as part of a plea deal on multiple felony charges including repeated sexual assault of a then-8-year-old girl.

Terrance Simmons was sentenced Friday in Marathon County Circuit Court on charges of first degree child sex assault, repeated sexual assault of the same child, causing a child younger than 13 to view or listen to a sex act, and three counts of exposing a child to harmful material. After more than two hours of emotional arguments on both sides of the aisle on Friday, Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson passed down the sentence and ordered Simmons to spend an additional 20 years on extended supervision following his eventual release from prison.

Simmons, who has two wives and 15 children, faces similar charges filed in 2016 in Lincoln County involving a child who was then five years old.

In the Marathon County case, police first launched an investigation after the victim, who is not related to Simmons by blood, came forward and told her father about the abuse. In forensic interviews, the girl said Simmons repeatedly touched  her, forced her to watch sexually explicit videos and perform oral sex, and videotaped at least one encounter in which the two dressed up in makeup and showered together. The charges were filed in 2015.

Afterward, the girl said, Simmons prayed for God to forgive him.

According to court filings, one of Simmons’ two wives wrote a letter to the judge begging him to show leniency toward her husband, who she called a “man of God” with an unusual lifestyle that left him subject to ridicule and persecution.

Court records show Simmons has 11 prior criminal convictions dating back to 1999 that include armed robbery, bail jumping, and a range of drug-related charges.

Future court dates in Lincoln County have not yet been set.