Investigators said they have recovered evidence and are looking into the possibility that the victim was drugged. Authorities believe the attack happened Saturday morning after the two went out to a bar.
Simmons is employed as a campus officer at Duke, but the university said he will be suspended pending further investigation of the case. He has been with the department a little over a year.
The fact that he is a sworn police officer at Duke University makes it even more disturbing according to the sheriff of Houston County Alabama.
"This is a very disturbing case," Sheriff Andy Hughs said. "We have a situation where a Duke University police officer was visiting some people here in the Dothan Houston County area. He and a female acquaintance went out to a local night club. She last remembers getting into the vehicle. We have reason to believe she was possibly drugged. When she woke up she was in the front seat of the defendant's vehicle, was handcuffed, gagged and was being sodomized."
The sheriff said the woman is related to Simmons.
He also said a search of Simmons car turned up other items in addition to the gag and handcuffs, including whips and rope.
Duke students were shocked by the news.
"It's horrible and shocking," Duke student Shannon Brewer said. "If I had ever had interaction with that police officer I'd probably be horrified. But I don't know what could've been done to prevent it, if he had no background."
Simmons is being held in the Houston County Jail under a $120,000 bond.