“I witnessed what I believe to be a sexual assault at 15th & T Sts NW today at approx 8:30am.”

assault

A reader reports:

“I witnessed what I believe to be a sexual assault at 15th & T Sts NW today at approx 8:30am. I was traveling northbound on 15th St stopped at the light for T St NW. A woman was crossing 15th, heading east on the north crosswalk. As she finished crossing and stepped up onto the curb, a man standing on that corner, reached out and down with his right arm and touched/grabbed her front private area. She was visibly surprised, pulled out her headphones and started screaming expletives (I assume, I think I saw a F*** you mouthed) at him. He, without batting an eye or acknowledging her screaming, casually crossed 15th St and then turned southbound on the west side of 15th.

I tried to grab a photo but was so surprised I flubbed the phone. I looped around once to try and catch a photo of his face but only managed to grab a photo of his back as he was walked south on 15th St. I then tracked down the victim a few blocks away to make sure she was okay. I offered to try and get a better photo of him, give her contact info or anything to help. She said she was shaken but okay. I just cannot stop thinking about what I saw this morning and want to warn neighbors to be vigilant. The man was approx 40-50 years old, about 5’2”, black male, stocky/round build with a shuffle-type walk. He was wearing black pants, dark thick jacket (maybe with a slight pattern) black beanie, found toe black shoes. He had a round, unexpressive face.”

If the victim would like to be put in touch with OP to file a police report (if one hasn’t been filed already) please email me at [email protected]

31 Comment

  • Good enough for POETUS, good enough for this guy.
    so disturbing.

  • CALL THE COPS when this stuff happens. A cop would have easily tracked that person down if he was just walking away. Even if the person did not end up wanting to do anything about it, it would at least scare the guy into maybe not doing again if a cop stopped him a few minutes later. Thanks for making us aware, but calling authorities when you see crimes occurring is the first thing you should do.

    • Seriously. I don’t understand why people try to take photos instead of just calling the cops. Geez…..

      • This guy wasn’t next to the guy when this happened, and he wasn’t the victim. Reporting it can only go so far if the victim doesn’t want to report.

        • You don’t have to be the victim in order to call the cops. If you see something, say something. The cops can chase down the creep and deal with the situation. If the victim doesn’t press charges, that’s their option.

          • Come on. The concept of cops swinging into action and “chasing down a creep” based on a 911 call is absolutely laughable in DC.

            If the victim isn’t in mortal danger, it’s likely much more useful to take a photo of the perp BEFORE calling the cops. That way, when the cops actually respond and arrive at the scene 45 minutes later they know who to pretend to look for.

          • A victim “pressing charges” isn’t really a thing.

  • Something similar happened to me. I was at the Convention Center waiting to cross the street during the day with my hands on my hips. I was looking in the direction I was waiting to cross so I didn’t see the people crossing the other way. A man, maybe homeless, came from behind and grabbed my elbow as if he knew me. I was so shocked I screamed at him and he just smiled and walked away.

  • Something similar happened to me in 2014 in China Town. Under the influence of blinding rage and adrenaline, I followed my assailant (who looked 60+ and walked with a cane and severe limp) at a distance and called the police. He was arrested within minutes a few yards from me, I testified 3 months later for only 15 minutes, and he spent 10 nights in jail and received substance abuse counseling (drunk and high upon arrest) and sexual conduct counseling. He also had to contribute to a victim’s assistance fund, which I declined to use, but the funds are general so it’s comforting to know that a future crime victim will have access to free counseling, shelter, etc.
    .
    I want to let everyone know who may become a future victim of groping (termed “misdemeanor sexual abuse” in the District) that the beat cops, special victims detectives, and the AUSA assigned to my case all took this very seriously and I encourage you to report. I’d also like to thank OP for offering assistance because none of the 40 people in the crosswalk with us when it happened even batted an eye as I yelled expletives and began to follow him.

    • I’m so sorry for your experience. I still get angry when I think of the guy who grabbed my ass by putting his hand up my skirt when I was on the metro ten years ago as an intern. Then I yelled at him and he put on a 1,000 yard stare and nothing was registering. I still wish I had gotten a police officer but I was so upset and not thinking straight. Now I would.

      I just want to add on that it’s so important to report – another reason I’m mad about my experience 10 years ago and that I didn’t find someone to report it to – is that these things escalate. Someone who is a flasher will likely become someone like this story who grabs you up through rape. This man will have other victims unfortunately. Men also need to be aware of what life is like for women just walking around DC bc when you’re walking with a man you’re not a target for harassment or sexual assault – you “belong”to that man. So men rarely witness what our experience is day to day. We do need the good ones as advocates and to step in if their friend is catcalling etc.

      • “belong”to that man. So men rarely witness what our experience is day to day. We do need the good ones as advocates and to step in if their friend is catcalling etc.”

        My friends and I had this very discussion yesterday over happy hour. It is SO true. Sometimes even our boyfriends/male friends don’t believe sexual harassment is a thing. Makes me sad.

        • It’s male privilege. They are blind to it. They will never know what it is like to walk into a room and be eyed as nothing more than a sexual object to be taken and used.

      • I agree men rarely see what most women deal with day to day. I don’t recall ever seeing someone groped in public like that. But I don’t think I have any female friends that haven’t been attacked in some way. When all my friends lived in the same neighborhood, we always made sure a guy walked a girl home, even if it was two blocks. Now we can mostly afford cabs, and I’ll still insist on paying for one if it’s too far to walk.

        But you’re right. As “aware” as I might be about the issue, I don’t really know how it feels. I’ve heard their stories and can try to imagine the horror, anger, shame. But I don’t walk around by myself the next day, next week, next however long, with that fear still in my heart.

  • Thank you so much for posting this. That was me getting assaulted, by the way – the fact that you stopped your car to check on me meant so much and probably restored my faith in humanity at that moment. I was so freaked out and shaken up at the time, I couldn’t really think straight. I’ll definitely file a police report and will contact popville directly to get in touch. You’re an angel.

    • sorry this happened to you! i had similar situation in college (not in DC) and I honestly don’t think I would have been able to do anything other than stand there in shock if my friend hadn’t been with me! It is SO disorienting

    • Sending positive thoughts your way. I’m sorry this happened to you and thanks to the OP for stopping.

    • I have been through the reporting/testifying process and, if they are able to figure out who this was (through a repeat offense perhaps), I would be more than happy to walk you through things. The US Attorney’s Office for the District employs victim’s advocates that will call you to explain things, but if you’d like the peer-to-peer perspective (and someone to tell you how much of a rock star you are for reporting and testifying), I give PoP permission to release my the email address associated with this account to you.

    • Hi TI, please be kind to yourself in the coming months as you process this. I was assaulted on a metro train (non-rape sexual assault) and can empathize with the “I was so freaked out and shaken up at the time, I couldn’t really think straight” feeling. I had a journey through the cops, photo lineups, the court system, and therapy. Feel free to reach out through PoP if you are interested in hearing about resources or processes.

  • jessicaraven

    Thank you so much for sharing this, OP, and most of all thank you for speaking up and checking in with the person who was attacked. A supportive response from a bystander can go a long way.

    Readers: If you witness or experience public sexual harassment and assault, I encourage you to get in touch with Collective Action for Safe Spaces to get connected to resources and to help us collect data on the problem.

    • Echoed. You did the right thing, and even if your response wasn’t perfect, you are a kind, aware, supportive person and our community needs more people like you.

  • General Grant Circle

    Once some years back in AdMo a group of three young women walking by lifted up my then girlfriends skirt and grabbed her butt as they walked by and giggled into the McDonalds. We yelled after them and a cop who saw the whole thing (it being that corner of AdMo there are always cops) came up, she told him she didnt want to press charges but that isnt how people should behave and he and another officer went and gave them a dressing down. Even if someone doesnt press charges getting the cops involved may shake the person enough that they hopefully dont do it again at least

    • Very strongly agree. It’s VERY wonderful that the person took the efforts that they did, particularly checking with the victim after. However, because the police were not called – we now have a blurry picture of the person from behind and a generic description. So this likely means another sexual assault will have occurred without repercussions of any sort to the perpetrator.
      .
      It concerns me that some of the suggestions of what to do when you witness a stranger being sexually assaulted in public does not include ‘call the police’.

  • I remember a post from this summer where someone was attacked and the cops wouldn’t allow a report to be taken. So they don’t always save the day.

  • I think I saw someone who could be this person yesterday in Taqueria Nacional at 14th & T. There was a person matching this description exactly who so freaked me out how he approached me inside the restaurant that I walked away and did not let him get within touching distance. He did not assault me but Taqueria may have video for ID purposes. This was maybe around 12:45 yesterday when I was getting a pickup order. My experience yesterday was the first time in a while I have been scared of someone in the neighborhood.

  • I guess it’s open season on p____y grabbing now.

  • If you are feeling up to it, you could look through the DC sex offender registry (if you remember the face) for people that are around that area–there is a map view.

    http://sexoffender.dc.gov/

  • It looks like this made the top of the local Washington Post news today. This guy has assaulted other women as well. Thanks to your photo and description, hopefully they can find this guy!

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Update from MPD: “Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit have announced an arrest has been made in connection with the following Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse offenses that occurred in the Third District:

    · 1900 block of 15th Street, Northwest on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at approximately 8:20 am. CCN: 17-006-483

    · Unit block of Logan Circle, Northwest on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at approximately 5:00 pm. CCN: 17-006-102

    · 1300 block of Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest on Thursday, January 12, 2017, at approximately 8:00 am. CCN: 17-006-367

    In all three offenses, the suspect approached the victim and groped her against her will.

    On Friday, January 13, 2017, at approximately 10:40 pm, members of the Third District’s Crime Suppression Team located 57-year-old Michael Hilliard of no fixed address. After an investigation by the Sexual Assault Unit, he was arrested and charged with three counts of Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse.”

Comments are closed.