Felony Sex Abuse Charge Reduced to Misdemeanor per Plea Deal

An 18-year-old defendant initially charged with third-degree sex abuse pleaded down to two counts of misdemeanor sex abuse and was released from jail.

The offenses occurred last year on Sept. 5 and 10, 2020, on the 2300 block of Ainger Place, SE and the 1400 block of Morris Road, SE. Darnell Peoples  was seen on various surveillance cameras following the victims in public areas prior to the assaults, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Judge Judith Smith sentenced the defendant to 100 days with credit for time served, followed by two years of probation. The conditions of the probation include a mental health assessment, participation in an employment or academic program and a stay away no contact order. He must also pay $50 to the Victims of Violent Crime (VVC) fund for each charge. 

The defendant was held since last October and is receiving credit for time served, Peoples is scheduled to be released on Feb 11.

The prosecution requested that, due to the defendant’s multiple attacks in a short period of time, he received consecutive sentences of 180 days, the maximum penalty, for each victim.

During their impact statements, victims expressed  the fear and trauma they endured, requesting the maximum sentence.

Defense attorney Angela Buckner said the defendant recently struggled with depression and emotional issues related to multiple deaths in his family, and although there were three attacks in a few days, it was an isolated incident. 

The defense asked Judge Judith Smith to sentence the defendant under the  Youth Rehabilitation Act (YRA) due to his young age and lack of a criminal record.

Judge Smith said that, due to the alarming repeated offenses in a short period of time and video revealing intentional assault against victims, the defendant will not be sentenced under the YRA. However, the judge recommended that the defendant complete his probationary terms and apply for the  sentence to be under the YRA  allowing him to seek the benefit later if he is successful with his probation.