Northeast Tarrant

12 kids accused miniature train man of sex abuse. He may never go to trial

Clinton Don Simpson of Keller accused of multiple charges of molesting children at his backyard miniature train park may never go to trial because of his bad health. This is a booking photo from 2010.
Clinton Don Simpson of Keller accused of multiple charges of molesting children at his backyard miniature train park may never go to trial because of his bad health. This is a booking photo from 2010.

Clinton Don Simpson, one of the most notorious accused child molesters in Tarrant County in the last decade who shattered the world of dozens of parents and their children, is in poor health and may never go to trial.

Twelve children including 11 girls and one boy accused the 75-year-old Keller man of molesting them in 2007 at "Mr. Don's Whistle Stop," a miniature train station and track, which at that time, was operated and owned by Simpson in his backyard.

Since 2007, he's repeatedly been found incompetent to stand trial, according to Tarrant County court records.

"We were aware years ago that he was claiming mental illness," said Allen Vaught of Dallas, an attorney hired by a Tarrant County family who filed a lawsuit against Simpson in 2007. The family had two girls who accused Simpson of molesting them. Vaught no longer represents that family.

Simpson confessed to Keller police that he sexually assaulted the children.

Simpson faces 14 charges of molesting girls — 10 for aggravated sexual assault of a child, three for indecency involving fondling and one for sexual abuse of a child, court records state.

Lisa Mullen of Fort Worth, Simpson's criminal attorney, and a Tarrant County prosecutor declined to comment on the case citing a gag order that's in place.

Simpson remains at a state hospital.

A Tarrant County grand jury indicted Simpson on the charges in December 2007.

In Texas, of the 141,661 inmates in prisons as of March more than 33,000 were in for sex crimes against children, according to The Texas Tribune.

Simpson was the owner of Mr. Don's Whistle Stop at his Keller home in the 8700 block of Buckner Lane, where he had hosted parties for school-age children for years. The park was closed in 2007 after officials discovered that he was operating it without a proper business permit.

In a 2002 Star-Telegram article on Mr. Don's, Simpson told a reporter he began hand-building his miniature trains more than 30 years ago.

The miniature train traveled on more than 1,000 feet of track in the backyard of his Keller home.

Simpson's website, which was taken down in 2007, said: "Mr. Don's railroad twists around town, through an above ground tunnel, over the 200-foot long bridge, and back to the depot to board more passengers! Mr. Don's railway began as a hobby 30 years ago, when he built his first engine, a live steam train known as 'B & B Railroad.' The whistle stop has grown over the years, and now includes: two Amtrak F-40s, a Santa Fe F-3, a Chesapeake & Ohio."

In the 2002 interview with the Star-Telegram, Simpson said he preached part-time for Haslet Church of Christ.

For the last 10 years, Simpson has been at state hospitals throughout Texas after repeated hearings have determined he was incompetent to stand trial for the sexual abuse of young girls who visited his entertainment park.

Court records show his last hearing was in 2014.

The parents of two of the girls who made outcries filed a civil lawsuit in 2007 against Simpson and his wife, Mary Simpson, but that lawsuit was dropped in 2008 because Don Simpson was found incompetent to stand trial in the criminal cases.

"We decided to drop it until the criminal case was taken care of," Vaught said in a recent telephone interview. He noted the girls had until two years after their 18th birthday to refile the case.

The Star-Telegram obtained a copy of that civil lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, the parents said they were befriended by the Simpsons in October 2006. The Simpsons encouraged the parents to bring their children to their amusement park, "Mr. Don's Whistle Stop."

From October 2006 to October 2007, the parents took their children to the miniature train park several times each month. After Simpson was arrested in October 2007, the parents learned their two girls had been sexually assaulted by Simpson, and he had exposed himself to them, the lawsuit states.

The parents also found out that Simpson had engaged in similar sexual behavior with children in the 1980s and his wife knew about it. In 2007, Mary Simpson also was a leader in the church and she was a teacher at a local school.

The parents blamed "Mr. Don's Whistle Stop" for failing to warn them of Clinton Don Simpson, and they noted that Mary Simpson was negligent in failing to warm them about her husband.

In a response to the lawsuit, the Simpsons denied every allegation, according to court records.

Simpson surrendered to authorities in October 2007 just days after several parents called 911 and reported the possibility of "inappropriate touching" of pre-school-age girls, Keller police told the Star-Telegram in 2007.

On the day parents called 911, Simpson was hosting a birthday party in his backyard miniature train park..

Simpson checked himself into a hospital after hearing about the calls from parents, but he later surrendered to police.

Within a week after his arrest in 2007, Keller police received more than 200 calls from concerned parents.

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Susana, a survivor of sexual child abuse, said counseling helps her move past the emotional trauma she suffered as a child. (Video by Max Faulkner/Star-Telegram)

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763,@mingoramirezjr