News and Press Releases

Friday, October 21, 2011

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Former District of Columbia Employee Sentenced to 33 Months
in Prison For Sexually Accosting Teenage Girl
-Defendant Was Supervising Victim, Others Assigned to Summer Jobs Program-

     WASHINGTON - Thomas Nelson, 55, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 33 months of incarceration on a charge stemming from sexual advances he made upon a teenage girl who was assigned to work with him through the District of Columbia’s Summer Youth Employment Program, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Nelson pled guilty in August 2011 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to a charge of attempted second degree sexual abuse of a minor in a significant relationship. He was sentenced by the Honorable William M. Jackson. Upon completion of his prison term, Nelson will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must register as a sex offender for 10 years.

     According to the government’s evidence, Nelson worked as a claims examiner for the District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services in Southeast Washington. He was directly responsible for supervising the victim and other youths who, through the summer jobs program, were assigned to work at the Department of Employment Services.

     The 17-year-old victim was among the youths under Nelson’s supervision. His duties included giving her daily assignments, providing guidance about how to go about the work duties, and releasing her and others in his group for lunch and then again at the end of the day.

     On June 29, 2011, Nelson asked the victim to accompany him to the fifth floor to accomplish a task. Instead of taking the most direct route, he walked her through several empty, unlit rooms while he made sexual advances as well as numerous lewd comments. Later, he released all of the other youths on their lunch break, except for the victim. He told the victim that he had something to show her on a computer in a partially hidden cubicle in the back of his office. He then made additional lewd remarks, touched her buttocks and thigh, and undid his pants and exposed himself. At that point, another youth came into the office, and Nelson pretended to be working on the computer. The victim left for lunch and soon received a text message on her cellphone from Nelson that stated, “this stays between you and me.”

     At the end of the day, the victim told her mother what happened. The next day, they reported Nelson’s conduct to the police. He was subsequently arrested and has been in custody ever since.

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department, including Detective Bridget Parrish, the lead detective. He also praised those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim Witness Advocate Veronica Vaughan, Paralegal Joyce Arthur and Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin B. Andrews, who prosecuted the matter.



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