Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Charges in 2004 Sexual Assault of Woman in Georgetown
Defendant Attacked Victim After Illegally Entering Her Residence; DNA Linked Him to Crime
WASHINGTON - Benjamin Paz, 54, of Montgomery Village, Md., pled guilty today to sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman after illegally entering her residence in Georgetown in February 2004, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Paz plead guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to one count of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree burglary. The plea agreement, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for an agreed-upon prison sentence within the range of eight to 15 years. Following his prison term, Paz would be placed on a period of supervised release and be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. The Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Lugo scheduled sentencing for April 9, 2018.
According to the government’s evidence, on Feb. 22, 2004, at approximately 4:30 a.m., Paz entered a residence in the 3300 block of Prospect Street NW, where the 21-year-old victim was home sleeping. Paz did not reside at that address, nor did he have permission to enter the dwelling. He was a stranger to the victim. Paz removed the victim’s clothing and sexually assaulted her by force. During the assault, the victim pushed Paz off of her, after which he got up and ran out the back door into the alley. The victim ran out the front door to get help.
The victim made an immediate report to police, and was transported to an area hospital, where she received a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination. This examination included the collection of swabs from her intimate areas. The Physical Evidence Recovery Kit was later sent for forensic testing. That testing revealed an unknown male DNA profile developed from the victim’s swabs. That unknown male DNA profile was uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a web of state and national databases containing DNA profiles from convicted offenders and crime scenes that is used as an investigative tool. There were no hits.
Paz was developed as a suspect in these offenses by MPD in 2017. On Feb. 9, 2017, a D.C. Superior Court judge signed a search warrant authorizing the collection of buccal swabs from the defendant. The warrant was executed on Feb. 15, 2017, and the swabs were later sent for forensic testing. During the testing, Paz’s DNA profile was developed and compared to the unknown male DNA profile developed from the testing of the victim’s swabs in the 2004 offense. The results of this comparison revealed that the DNA profile of the defendant matched the DNA profile of the unknown male on the swabs.
Paz was arrested on March 22, 2017, and has been in custody ever since.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Liu and Chief Newsham commended the work of the detectives of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sexual Assault Cold Case Unit and Second Police 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, Victim/Witness Specialists LaJune Thames and Katina Adams-Washington, and Executive Assistant Shelia Miller.
Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Zubrensky, who investigated and prosecuted the case.