Defendant Sentenced for Sexually Assaulting Victim at Gunpoint in 2006

A DC Superior Court judge sentenced a defendant to serve more than a decade in prison for an armed sexual assault that took place 16 years ago.

During the early hours of March 25, 2006, the victim was babysitting her friend’s child when she encountered Christopher Grooms, who she recognized as someone she had seen with her friend in the past. According to the prosecution, Grooms entered the home and forced the victim into the child’s bedroom, where he raped her at gunpoint. 

“To you she’s a stranger, but to her you’re a life-changing force,” Judge Marisa Demeo told Grooms during the April 5 sentencing hearing.

The victim was pregnant at the time of the assault. In a victim impact statement, she described the trauma and anxiety she endured and its strain on her pregnancy. She lost a close friend because they did not believe Grooms could do something like this. 

In 2020, advances in DNA technology led to investigators finding a match between the male DNA profile from the victim’s rape kit and Grooms’ DNA profile, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. 

The 36-year-old defendant was arrested in April 2021.  The following December, he took a plea deal for attempted first-degree sexual abuse while armed with aggravating circumstances. 

Grooms has previously been convicted of attempted first-degree sexual abuse for a 2008 offense involving a different victim. The prosecution argued that, as a repeat offender, Grooms poses a serious threat to the community. They asked Judge Demeo to impose a 12-year prison sentence. 

Defense attorney Jason Clark requested an eight-year prison sentence. He noted a major car accident his client was in, which caused him to lose one of his legs and motor functions in his hands. Clark argued that this will preclude Grooms from being able to commit more crimes. 

“You’ve been on a path of destruction your whole life, whether on other people or yourself,” Judge Demeo told the defendant after hearing from both parties. She pointed out that both of Grooms’ parents had stable jobs while he grew up, and he looked up to many uncles. 

“You had a lot more direction than other people have,” she said 

Judge Demeo sided with the prosecution’s recommendation and sentenced Grooms to 12 years in prison, which will be followed by ten years of supervised release. He will remain a registered sex offender for life.  Judge Demeo recommended that Grooms participate in sex offender, drug and mental health treatment. She will also order him to stay away from the victim.