Area Man Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing His Cousin, Beginning When She Was 12 Years Old
Defendant Told Victim No One Would Believe Her; He Was Arrested After She Disclosed the Abuse
WASHINGTON – An area man, 32, was found guilty today of first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree child sexual abuse, and other charges for sexually abusing his cousin, beginning when she was 12 and continuing until she was 14, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu.
The defendant, who is not identified here to protect the privacy of the victim, recently lived in both Silver Spring, Md., and Alexandria, Va. He was found guilty by a jury following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Ronna L. Beck ordered that he be held without bond until sentencing on Nov. 2, 2018. He faces up to decades in prison.
According to the government’s evidence at trial, the victim and her younger sister would spend weekends at the Northeast Washington home of their adult sister. The man lived in that same home and, before his abuse became known, and was beloved by the victim’s parents and her adult siblings, who viewed him like a son or brother, rather than as a nephew and cousin.
In the summer of 2014, when the victim was 12 years old, the defendant began sexually abusing her during her weekend visits. The nature of his abuse escalated over time, and each time he abused the girl, he told her not to tell anyone about what he was doing. He also told her that if she told, nobody would believe her, and that she would be the one to get in trouble, not him. The victim confided in her 10-year old sister when the abuse began, but the younger sister did not understand the sexual abuse, and therefore, did not believe the victim and told her so. This caused the victim to fear that just as the defendant had warned, nobody would believe her if she told. Thus, she kept the abuse bottled up inside for the next couple of years.
In early 2017, however, the victim began refusing to visit her adult sister’s home. The victim’s mother and her adult sister found that odd. After church one Sunday in April 2017, the older sister began pressing the victim as to why she had quit coming over to the sister’s home on weekends. It was at that point that the victim finally reported the sexual abuse to which the defendant had been subjecting her. Contrary to the defendant’s threats that no one would believe the victim, the victim’s family immediately reported the abuse to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and the defendant was later arrested.
In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Liu praised the work of members of the Youth and Family Services Division of the Metropolitan Police Department. She also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney John Mannarino, Deputy Chief of the Appellate Section; Paralegal Specialists Brenda C. Williams and Tiffany Jones; Victim/Witness Advocates Juanita Harris, Elsa Maltese and Karen Giannakoulias; Litigation Technology Specialists Anisha Bhatia and Jeanie Latimore-Brown, and Interns Megan Hughes, John Bedecarre, Marianne Aguilar, Demia Lee, and Leon Stern. Finally, U.S. Attorney Liu commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer B. Loeb and Peter V. Taylor, who investigated and prosecuted this case.