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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

District Man Pleads Guilty For 2003 Sexual Assault of Woman in Southwest Washington

Man Had Been Convicted in Two Previous Sexual Assaults

            WASHINGTON – James Richardson, 37, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman in September 2003, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Richardson pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to one count of attempted first-degree sexual abuse.  The plea, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for an agreed-upon seven-year prison term. Richardson also will be required to register as a sex offender for life and serve a term of supervised release. The Honorable Milton C. Lee scheduled sentencing for Dec. 17, 2018.

            According to the government’s evidence, on Sept. 21, 2003, at approximately 8:20 p.m., Richardson pulled the woman into a wooded area in the 4600 block of Blue Plains Drive SW, and raped her at knifepoint, after engaging her in conversation and offering to walk her home. Richardson then brandished the knife, told her to do as he said, and sexually assaulted her. The victim screamed for help and tried to run, but was unsuccessful. When the assault was over, Richardson threatened to kill the victim if she reported the assault. He again offered to walk the victim home, but she told him to leave her alone and ran back to her residence.

            The victim made an immediate report to police, and was transported to an area hospital, where she received a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination.

            Richardson was developed as a suspect in this offense by MPD’s Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit in September 2018. On Sept. 18, 2018, a D.C. Superior Court judge signed a complaint and warrant authorizing Richardson’s arrest. The warrant was executed on Sept. 19, 2018, two days before the statute of limitations would have run on this case. Richardson has been in custody ever since.

            When detectives discovered this case in September 2018, the investigation revealed that Richardson had been convicted in two prior sexual assault cases, one that occurred in 2000 in Baltimore, and one that occurred in 2003 in the District of Columbia.

            In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Liu and Chief Newsham commended the work of the detectives of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit and officers from the Seventh District, as well as the Deputy Marshals from the U.S. Marshals Service. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Tracey Hawkins, and Paralegal Specialist Tameka Garcia.

            Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Zubrensky and Jennifer Loeb, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated October 3, 2018