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Justice News

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

Friday, July 11, 2014

District Man Sentenced To 21-Year Prison Term For Series Of Attacks Against Young WomenIncidents Took Place Over Four-Week Period In Northeast Washington

            WASHINGTON - Gerald Canty, 21, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 21 years in prison for sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman and attempting to kidnap three additional young women in a series of incidents that took place earlier this year in Northeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

            Canty pled guilty on May 16, 2014, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to one count of first-degree sexual abuse, one count of attempted kidnapping while armed, and two counts of attempted kidnapping. He was sentenced by the Honorable Jennifer Anderson.  Upon completion of his prison term, Canty will be placed on supervised release for the rest of his life. He also must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and stay away from minors.

            According to the government’s evidence, on March 1, 2014, at about 10:40 a.m., the 18-year-old woman was walking on the footbridge from the Minnesota Avenue Metro station when Canty approached her from behind. Canty told her that he had a gun and forced her to walk several blocks with him to an isolated field.  When they got there, he sexually assaulted her.  After the assault, she immediately went home and told her mother what happened.  She reported the assault to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and was taken to a local hospital, where she received a sexual assault exam. 

            On March 5, 2014, at about 11:30 a.m., another victim - a 25-year-old woman - was walking in the area of 44th and Hayes Streets NE, about half a mile from the Metro station, when Canty approached her. He had his hand in his pocket to simulate that he had a gun.  He bumped into her, grabbed her arm, and stated, “Where’s the money at?”  He then forced her to walk with him while demanding money.  The victim saw what she believed to be the handle of a handgun in the defendant’s pocket. Canty forcibly led her towards an alley behind a residence in the next block. She managed to break away and yell for help.  An unidentified bystander came to her aid, and Canty fled on foot.  The victim reported the assault to MPD immediately.

            On March 7, 2014, at about 7:05 a.m., a third victim – a 17-year-old - was walking on the footbridge from the Minnesota Avenue Metro station, toward her school. Canty walked up beside her with his hand in his pocket to simulate that he had a gun, and stated, “I real life have a gun in my pocket and I’ll shoot you.  Just keep walking straight.  Don’t draw any attention to yourself.  Don’t do anything crazy.” He forced her to walk with him a short distance. She saw an acquaintance and then stopped walking with Canty, who fled on foot. She then reported the assault to her school principal, and later to MPD. 

            All three victims provided MPD detectives with descriptions of the assailant.  On March 13, 2014, the Minnesota Avenue Metro station manager contacted Metro Transit Police to report that an individual matching the descriptions had been seen on the footbridge of the Minnesota Avenue Metro station.  Metro Transit and MPD officers stopped the defendant.  Detectives with MPD’s Sexual Assault Unit responded and spoke to Canty. He subsequently admitted to sexually assaulting the 18-year-old and attempting to kidnap the 25-year-old and 17-year-old victims. The sexual assault kit from the 18-year-old’s examination was later tested, and showed that a single male DNA profile was found that matched Canty’s DNA profile.

            After Canty was charged in the above crimes, MPD detectives linked an additional case to him. In that offense, on Feb. 17, 2014, at approximately 5:45 p.m., a 19-year-old woman was walking through a cut near 51st Street NE when Canty approached her from behind.  He stated that he had a gun in his pocket, and threatened to shoot her if she yelled or screamed. Canty told her to keep walking, which she did. She saw an acquaintance walk into a house, and ran to follow that person inside. She told the occupants what had just occurred.  Several occupants went outside, but Canty was gone. This victim later identified the defendant as her attacker.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department=s Sexual Assault Unit, Youth Investigations Division, Sixth District, and Mobile Crime Division.  He also acknowledged the work of the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences, Metro Transit Police, and Washington Metro Area Transit Authority.  He also praised those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Tracey Hawkins, Paralegal Specialist Jason Manuel, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Zubrensky, who investigated and prosecuted the case.


Updated February 19, 2015