Judge Finds Probable Cause and Orders Detention in Sex Abuse Case

During a Nov. 7 preliminary hearing, DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun ruled to detain a sex abuse defendant, claiming that he is a “flight risk” and a “danger to his community.”

The defendant has been charged with first-degree sex abuse while armed. On Nov. 3, 2022, the defendant reportedly brought the victim to the basement of a house on the 5500 block of Chillum Place, NW. 

The defendant reportedly sat on the victim’s lap, licked her face, and began squeezing her breast, ignoring the victim’s repeated orders for him to stop, according to court documents. When the victim attempted to leave, the defendant reportedly pushed her onto the bed, and removed her pants and underwear. The defendant then reportedly placed a black handgun in front of her, claiming “that’s the shit that gets people killed.” He then licked and penetrated the victim’s vagina with his penis while laying on top of her. The victim later reported being “in fear for her life.”

The prosecution called a detective from the MPD’s sexual assault unit as their first witness. The detective recalled seeing the victim sitting in her friend’s car, roughly an hour after the alleged assault occurred. He described the victim as “frantic, nervous, sweaty, and crying.”

The victim told the detective she had agreed to hang out with the defendant, whom she had known for roughly a year and dated in the past. The defendant reportedly brought the victim to a house with two men who later claimed they “knew the defendant from around the area.” The men then reportedly led the pair inside to watch football.

According to the detective, when MPD officers showed the defendant to the two men, they both identified him as the person they led inside. However, both claimed they never saw the victim before. 

The detective relayed the victim’s account of events leading up to and following the assault, and described them as consistent with those put forth by the two men. For example, one of the men upstairs heard the victim say “stop, get off me,” corroborating the victim’s account. The detective also identified the defendant sitting in the courtroom as the “same person” identified by both men.

In his cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas Healy noted that several of the detective’s statements were missing from the Gerstein affidavit. He also called into question the witness’ claim that they let the defendant and victim inside to watch “the football game.” 

According to the case’s timeline, this interaction would have occurred at 11:30 a.m. on a Thursday, an uncommon time for a football game to air. Healy added that the defendant was in prison during late 2021, contradicting the victim’s claim that they dated “a year ago.”

Healy further requested that the defendant be released to home confinement under the high intensity supervision program. He referenced the defendant’s current employment status and past record of actively sharing his location with authorities while on probation.

Judge Okun found probable cause to believe the defendant sexually assaulted the victim, and ruled to detain the defendant at the DC Jail. He cited the offense’s serious nature, the defendant’s extensive criminal record dating back to 1997, and the strength of the evidence against him. Judge Okun concluded that besides detention, there were “no conditions possible to ensure the public’s safety.” 

The judge also added that the defendant was a “flight risk and a danger to his community” due to his noncompliance with the probation terms of two attempted robbery cases, for which he was recently released. According to the prosecution, the defendant had tested positive for cocaine and PCP use, after previously failing to report for drug testing and submitting bogus samples.

Judge Okun scheduled a status hearing for Nov. 17, with Judge Rainey Brandt presiding.

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