Data Shows More Sexual Assailants Are Strangers

D.C. Witness data shows that sexual assault cases adjudicated in DC during the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of 2021 found more sexual assailants are strangers than friends and family.

Of the cases, one-third of adjudicated sexual assault cases, approximately 11 out of 34 cases, in DC that were adjudicated during the first half of 2022 were perpetrated by strangers to the victim, nearly double the percentage from the same time frame in 2021

On May 26, Kenneth Pollard pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse and second-degree burglary in one case involving an incident that occurred in 2021 and misdemeanor sex abuse in another case involving an incident from 2020. The misdemeanor sex abuse case stems from an incident on Feb. 14, 2020, in which Pollard, 54, approached a woman at a bus stop and groped her.

On Aug. 31, 2021, Pollard “assaulted a female stranger and asked her to have his baby” while she was waiting at a bus stop in Lower Central Northeast, according to the prosecution. He proceeded to put her in a chokehold and continued to repeat that he wanted her to “have his baby.” The victim was able to flee into a nearby cafe but Pollard was able to assault her again, dragging her through the building.

“While the defendant was dragging the complaint he reached into her shirt, fondling her breasts,” the prosecutor said. He dragged her outside, and the assault continued until bystanders were able to intervene.

The entire assault was captured on surveillance video. Pollard told the court during his sentencing that at the time of the assault, he was on PCP. He told officers on the scene that he assaulted someone but does not remember specifics.

The largest percentage of reported sexual assault cases in the first half of 2021 were perpetrated by friends and acquaintances of victims, constituting more than one-third of 33 reported cases. However, the largest percentage of cases during the same time period in 2022 were perpetrated by strangers, according to D.C. Witness data.

In one case, a 31-year-old assailant was sentenced to 90 days in jail for misdemeanor sexual abuse on June 6. According to court documents, he assaulted a woman in an apartment complex located on the 1700 block of R Street, NW. The assailant was also sentenced to serve 18 years on supervised probation.

Despite this change in the relationships between defendants and victims, the majority of adjudicated sexual assault cases in DC, approximately 83 percent in 2021 and 67 percent in 2022, continue to be perpetrated by someone with whom the victim is familiar. 

D.C. Witness previously reported about a 52-year-old defendant charged with second-degree child sex abuse for allegedly abusing his two preteen goddaughters in May 2021. According to court documents, the defendant allegedly admitted to touching the victims inappropriately, but says he does not know what happened beyond that.  He was arrested two weeks after the alleged crime.

D.C. Witness also analyzed the ages of sexual abuse victims in adjudicated cases from 2021 and 2022, finding the majority of victims of adjudicated sexual assault cases in DC, approximately 55 percent in 2021 and 62 percent in 2022, were adults. 

However, despite making up less than half of adjudicated sexual assault cases, children continue to be particularly vulnerable to assaults by family members, family friends, and associates of parents and guardians. 

There were 16 total adjudicated cases with child victims in the first half of 2021 and 13 reported cases with child victims in the same time period of 2022. 

Editor’s note: This report is limited to sexual assault cases that have been adjudicated at the DC Superior Court during the first half of 2021 and 2022, between the months of January and June.  The report is not indicative of all sexual assaults in DC within that time period.