Maryland Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison For 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., was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for 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 pled guilty in December 2017, 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 was contingent upon the Court’s approval, called for an agreed-upon prison sentence within the range of eight to 15 years. The Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Lugo accepted the plea and sentenced the defendant accordingly. Following his prison term, Paz will be placed on lifetime supervised release. He also must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
“This prosecution is an example of our determination to ensure that violent crimes are not left unsolved,” said U.S. Attorney Liu. “By taking a fresh look at this case, we were pleased to join the Metropolitan Police Department and our other partners to get this dangerous predator off the street and achieve justice for the victim.”
According to the government’s evidence, on Feb. 22, 2004, at approximately 4:30 a.m., Paz broke into a residence in the 3300 block of Prospect Street NW, where the victim, then 21, was home alone, sleeping. Paz was a stranger to the victim. Paz removed the victim’s clothing and sexually assaulted her by force. During the assault, the victim was able to push Paz off 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 sentence, 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.