A DC Superior Court judge imposed a 12-year sentence for a defendant who pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree child sex abuse.
Ellisante Ewing was charged with first-degree child sex abuse in November 2019 for a series of rapes in 2018 and 2019 involving two victims less than 11-years-old. The following February, Ewing made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree child sex abuse.
During an interview with children’s advocates, one victim reported Ewing would wake her up as she was sleeping, bring her up to his bedroom, put her on her knees and force her to give him oral sex while blindfolded. The victim reported she was seven-years-old when the abuse began. The other victim was 10-years-old.
According to court documents, the most recent assault occurred on the night of Nov. 19, 2019, into the following morning, when a witness walked in on the abuse at around 3 a.m. The victim was eight years old, and the defendant was 29 years old at the time. The witness also told police that she would see the victim leave the defendant’s room while covering her mouth.
“I don’t want this man to ever see the light of the day, I’m still internally hurt,” said the mother of the younger victim Dec. 17 during an impact statement. “We are raising tough Black girls. We are trying to break these generational curses where men think they can come into our homes, touch our girls and think they can get away with it.”
An uncle of the older victim also gave a statement directed at the defendant.
“This crime you committed, messing with these children, is a serious thing,” he said. “It’s going on all over the world. People in high places doing stuff, messing with kids. It’s not a joke.”
Defense lawyer Roderick Thompson preempted his statement by offering his sympathies to the victims’ families, explaining how he understands how much work it will take the victims to overcome their trauma.
“I read a report, 28 percent of adult women have suffered child sexual abuse and I’m here to tell you my family falls in that 28 percent…I know it’s a lifetime of work,” Thompson said.
Erwing himself apologized to the victims when given the opportunity to speak.
“I truly apologize for the pain and suffering terminal grief I have caused the victims and their families,” Ewing said. “I’m sure I’ll dedicate myself to make myself better not only for myself or the things I’ve done but for my own kids.”
Thompson also told a story of the abuse the defendant suffered as a young child living in a trailer in North Carolina. “Mr. Ewing’s childhood trauma has informed every aspect of his life,” he said.
Ewing’s mother would do drugs and have sex in front of the children with various boyfriends. One of them,—who was described as smelling of “Newports, malt liquor and rage”—was to be avoided at all costs and would commit beatings and sexual abuse as a form of punishment, Thomspon said.
Once when five-year-old Ewing and a sibling came home from school one day with letters from school that said they got in trouble, it lead to both of them being sexually assaulted by one of their mother’s boyfriends.
Thompson also noted that his client did not own child pornography.
“Mr. Ewing is likely to be ultimately a healthier person if he’s able to get treatment on the outside sooner than if he has to rely on treatment on the inside,” Judge Neal Kravitz, who presided over the trial, said. “That’s an unfortunate reality of our prison system.”
Thompson requested the minimum sentence and a period of probation up to the judge’s discretion. “It’s not lost on anyone the psychological and emotional cost that the victims and families have undergone,” he said. “It’s profound and in looking at treatment as a way to kind of heal for everyone. Treatment services exist not to help Mr. Ewing rehabilitate but also the victims’ recovery.”
Thompson stressed the importance of arriving between a “balance of what Mr. Ewing has done and what he can be,” expressing confidence in the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency’s (CSOSA) post-conviction resources.
“Ultimately, for me in balancing these different interests, the protection of the community in the relative short-term—community meaning other young children Mr. Ewing could come in contact with and their families—has to be given the greatest weight,” Judge Kravitz said. “What has happened to [the victims] in my view cannot be allowed to happen to another child. While it may not be Mr. Ewing’s fault that he has the challenges he has, he nonetheless has them. I just think a significant prison term is necessary to protect the community.”
The prosecutor requested the maximum sentence, which is 14 years in prison.
“This was not a one-time incident. I read Mr. Ewing’s letter he submitted with his sentencing memorandum. He seems remorseful but he said he regrets ‘that fateful day’,” the prosecutor said. “Was it the day he was caught or the months he was abusing those girls?”
“This is something [the victims are] going to have to live with forever,” the prosecutor continued.
Judge Kravitz handed down a sentence of 36 months for the first two counts of second-degree child sex abuse and 72 months for the third count, all of which will run consecutively. The 12-year prison sentence will be followed by 25 years of supervised release.
Ewing must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
In addition, Judge Kravitz required consistent psychosexual evaluations, substance abuse treatment and vocational training while Ewing is in prison. When he gets out, he will be required to stay away from and have no contact with the victims and will not be permitted to come in unsupervised contact with children less than 14-years-old.
“For me, it’s less about punishment and more about protecting others,” Kravitz said. “This is ultimately why it’s hard for me because I wish there were a better and more humane way to keep Mr. Ewing separate from the rest of us. I truly wish there was. Unfortunately, that’s not something I have any control over, and it’s not really available.”