The 2015 session of the Virginia General Assembly official begins at noon today, and a pair of Arlington lawmakers are using the session to try to protect victims of sexual assault on college campuses.
Del. Rip Sullivan (D), in his first regular session in the General Assembly after being chosen in a special election to replace now-retired Del. Bob Brink, has already filed a bill aimed to help campus sex assault victims. HB1508 would require college campuses to have a memorandum of understanding with “a local sexual assault crisis center” to allow those reporting sexual assault to be able to take their claims off campus.
State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) is co-patron of a bill in the senate, along with two Loudoun senators, Sens. Jennifer Wexton (D) and Jill Vogel (R). Favola said that despite Rolling Stone magazine retracting its story detailing a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house, she’s still concerned about university responses to reports of sexual crimes on their campuses.
“The Rolling Stone article gave me great concern, even though I know there were questions on whether it happened,” she told ARLnow.com this morning. “The point is this is a pretty serious problem on college campuses… We wanted to empower victims to come forward and report.”
The bills would allow victims to make anonymous reports if they do not want to officially report an assault, and it would provide amnesty to students who are worried that the circumstances under which they were assaulted could jeopardize their academic standing — for example, if a 19-year-old student was raped while drinking underage.
“My bill shouldn’t be a burden” for colleges that have stringent sexual assault policies already on the books, she said, “but for the colleges and universities have not been as aggressive with this, this bill will actually be able to enforce a zero-tolerance for sexual assault policy.”
With Vogel as a co-sponsor, Favola and Sullivan hope the bills can draw votes from the Republican side of the aisle – a requirement if either were to get passed by the Republican-controlled houses in the state legislature.
“I hope this bill with Sen. Favola is one that will receive bipartisan support in this environment,” Sullivan said. “There is a lot of attention paid to the hot-button issues in which there can be disagreement and things turn into partisan wrangling, but a lot of good law is, as I understand it, made every session on a bipartisan basis that doesn’t attract much attention.”
On Tuesday, Dec. 23, just before 6:00 p.m., police responded to an address near the Rosslyn Metro for a cab fare dispute, a fairly routine call. However, the taxi passenger was found to be drunk in public and was arrested — and she didn’t go down without a fight, police say.
The woman allegedly kicked two police officers as she was being loaded into the patrol car, injuring them.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
BATTERY OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (2 COUNTS) / DRUNK IN PUBLIC,141223047, 1800 block of N. Nash St, On 12/23/14 at 1752 hours, officers responded for a cabfare dispute. The suspect was located and she was intoxicated in public. After the suspect was arrested, she kicked two police officers as she was being loaded into the patrol vehicle. Both officers sustained minor injuries and the suspect was held without bond.
Also in this week’s crime report, a woman reported being sexually assaulted in Ballston by a man with whom she went on a date. The alleged crime happened after she used the man’s bathroom, as she was trying to leave to go home.
SEXUAL ASSAULT, 141217058, 900 block of N Stuart St, A female victim told police that between 2030 hours and 2115 hours on 12/17/14, she went to a restaurant with a known male subject. She dropped him off at his residence and requested to use the bathroom before heading home. Upon doing so, she was pushed onto his bed where he she was sexually assaulted. The victim spoke with detectives and the investigation continues.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
The incident, which happened on the unit block of S. Carlin Springs Road in the Glencarlyn neighborhood, was reported around 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2. The victim told police that a man blocked her way and insisted that she kiss him in order to get past.
“Becoming increasingly concerned, the victim attempted to kiss the suspect on the cheek to placate him when the suspect grabbed the victim’s head and forcing a mouth-to-mouth kiss,” Arlington County Police said in a crime report. “As the victim was leaving, she was chased by the suspect who grabbed her by the arms before she could enter her vehicle. The suspect then forced one of her hands onto his crotch.”
The woman was able to break free and drive off. So far, no arrests have been reported in the case.
Police say a 35-year-old man used “racial slurs” before assaulting a victim at a bar on the 3100 block of Clarendon Blvd. The suspect is described as a 6’1″, 220 lbs white male with brown hair and brown eyes.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ASSAULT AND BATTERY (HATE CRIME), 141103069, 3100 block of Clarendon Blvd, On 11/3/14 at 2320 hrs, an unknown subject used racial slurs before assaulting the victim. Both were patrons of a bar at the time of the incident. Suspect is described as a non-hispanic white male 601/220, Bro/bro, approximately 35 years of age, wearing a black leather coat and a plaid button up shirt.
Also this week, a woman in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood told police she was attacked by her boyfriend after refusing to have sex with him.
STRANGULATION AND DOMESTIC ASSAULT AND BATTERY, 141102011, 800 block of S Greenbrier St, A female victim states she was strangled and punched after refusing the sexual advances of her boyfriend. The male suspect fled when he found out police were called. Warrants and an Emergency Protective Order were issued.
On Sunday night, a woman said she was sexually assaulted by her boyfriend after the boyfriend accused her of cheating on him with another man, who was staying over her apartment at the time. The boyfriend accused the woman of punching him in the face.
In the end, no one was charged.
SEXUAL ASSSAULT, 141102046, 3100 block of Lee Highway, On 11/2/14 at 1143 hrs, a female subject states she was sexually assaulted by her boyfriend after the boyfriend accused her of engaging in sexual intercourse with another male, who was currently in her apartment at the time of the boyfriend’s visit. The boyfriend accused the the female subject of punching him in the face during their argument over the other male staying there. Magistrate denied warrants.
A police spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
William Couch pleaded guilty to abduction with intent to defile and object sexual penetration in the cases, according to an Arlington County Police Department press release.
According to police, Couch admitted to the May 9, 1989 sexual assault and robbery of a woman whose home was broken into as she slept, and the Sept. 11, 1989 rape of a woman who was forced into a maintenance room by a man after she arrived early for her shift at work.
“In January of 2013, cold case detectives reviewed evidence from these cases and in June of 2013 William Couch became a suspect,” according to the press release. “On February 17, 2014 Couch was indicted on charges in connection to these assaults. On June 12, 2014, he pled guilty and was sentenced to 45 years on each case.”
The cases were investigated by detectives Rosa Ortiz and Robert Icolari, of ACPD’s Cold Case Squad, and prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Cari Steele. Ortiz is best known for being the lead detective in the Carl Diener murder case.
“Once again the value of a having a Cold Case Squad has been proven as we were able to bring some closure to two victims while bringing this sexual predator to justice,” said Deputy Chief Daniel Murray, commander of ACPD’s Criminal Investigations Division.
Police say a man grabbed a woman as she was either running or walking by, spun her around, and exposed himself to her. The incident happened on the trail between N. Quinn Street and N. Oak Street just after 11:00 a.m. The man then fled west on the trail, possibly running into a nearby apartment complex.
This was not a sexual assault, as earlier reported, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The man is described as a white male in his 30s, 5’10″ with a heavy muscular build and short, partially balding brown hair. He was wearing tennis shoes, a dark jacket, a white t-shirt and dark shorts at the time of the incident.
A police K-9 unit was brought in to try to track the suspect, but that was made impossible by the rain. So far police have not made any arrests, Sternbeck said.
Officers believe the suspect may be responsible for at least one other, similar assault that occurred in the same area, according to scanner traffic.
H-B Parents Peeved By Document Disappearance — Some parents of H-B Woodlawn students are up in arms after three documents that questioned a proposal to move the secondary program to a new building disappeared from an Arlington Public Schools website. One parent called the removal of the documents “heavy-handed and disturbing.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Man Charged With Fairfax Sex Assault — Sloan Wilson Rappoport, a 44-year-old Arlington resident and former George W. Bush administration official, has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman he met at a Bailey’s Crossroads clothing store. Police say Rappoport invited the woman into his Mercedes-Benz, then drove to a nearby location and sexually assaulted her. [Washington Post]
Clement to Run for School Board — Perennial Green Party candidate Audrey Clement is planning on running for Arlington School Board. Currently running in the race are three candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement: Barbara Kanninen, Greg Greeley and Nancy Van Doren. [InsideNoVa]
Airline Changes at DCA — As a result of changes related to the American Airlines/US Airways merger, JetBlue, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines will all be expanding their presence at Reagan National Airport. [MWAA]
Endorsements for Howze, Vihstadt — Arlington County Board candidates Alan Howze (D) and John Vihstadt (I) have picked up notable endorsements in the past week. Howze has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, which says he has a “depth of knowledge and understanding of key environmental issues facing the County.” Vihstadt has been endorsed by the local firefighters union, which says it shares Vihstadt’s spending priorities — an emphasis on core services and opposition to projects like the streetcar and the aquatics center.
Will Arlington Regret HOT Lanes Opposition? – Writing about what may be the area’s “worst commute” — from Fredericksburg to the District via I-95 and I-395 — highway historian Earl Swift suggests that Arlington may ultimately regret its opposition to HOT lanes on I-395. Running HOT lanes from I-95 to just before Arlington on I-395 “could spawn new and fearsome jams on I-395, choking Arlington County with the exhaust of idling legions of cars,” Swift writes. “The HOT lanes could be so popular, and inspire so fierce a public demand for their extension to the Potomac, that talks between state and county resume.” [Atlantic Cities, Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Joshua Barrett, 23, has been charged with burglary with intent to commit rape and sexual assault and battery. Police say he broke a window and gained entry into an apartment on the 4500 block of Arlington Blvd, near the National Guard Readiness Center, around 3:00 a.m. this past Sunday morning. Once inside, police say he started touching a woman who was in bed asleep.
“Barrett entered the victim’s bedroom and began to fondle her as she slept,” according to an Arlington County Police Department press release. “The 36 year-old female awoke at approximately 3:10 a.m., as Barrett was lying next to her and screamed. The victim ran to the lobby of her apartment complex and called police.”
“As officers were conducting their initial search of the apartment, a male subject matching Barrett’s description was seen standing outside the rear of the residence,” the press release continued. “A foot pursuit ensued and Barrett was taken into custody.”
Barrett was denied bond and is currently being held at the Arlington County Detention Facility.
The incident happened Friday afternoon at a residence in the Alcova Heights neighborhood. The upper portion of man’s ear was severed, but he was “very uncooperative” and wouldn’t tell police what happened, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Police do not have any suspects in the case.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 3600 block of S. 3rd Street. At 2:00 pm on November 29, an intoxicated male subject’s ear was severed in a fight. An investigation is ongoing.
Earlier this week, someone lit a field marker flag on fire at Long Bridge Park, causing minor damage.
ARSON, 400 block of S. Long Bridge Drive. Between 3:00 pm on December 2 and 7:00 am on December 3, an unknown subject lit one of the field markers on a soccer field on fire. No suspect description is available.
Police are also investigating a report of a woman being sexually assaulted after leaving a bar in the Courthouse neighborhood last Sunday night.
The woman was intoxicated at the time, can’t remember details of the alleged incident and reported it three days later, according to Sternbeck. There are no suspects in the case.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Sternbeck said.
SEXUAL ASSAULT, 1400 block of N. Courthouse Road. Between 10:30 pm on November 24 to 12:07 am on November 25, a female victim reported she was allegedly sexually assaulted after leaving a bar. An investigation is ongoing.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Note that ACPD is now including case numbers and basic details of minor incidents in its crime report.
The alleged incident happened just before midnight on Monday, on the 4500 block of Four Mile Run Drive.
Police say a 24-year-old woman woke up to find her roommate, 31-year-old Allister Kennedy, over her. She tried to fight him off but he still managed to sexually assault her, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
SEXUAL ASSAULT, 10/07/13, 4500 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At 11:50 pm on October 7, a female victim was sexually assaulted by a roommate. The subject entered the victim’s bedroom while she slept, pinned her down and sexually assaulted her. Allister Kennedy, 31, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with animate object penetration. He is being held without bond.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Photo courtesy ACPD
Police have released only a few details about the alleged crime, but are seeking the public’s help in identifying the suspect.
The incident happened around 6:00 a.m. at an apartment somewhere in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood, off of Columbia Pike. The man broke into the apartment and attempted to sexually assault a juvenile female, according to Arlington County Police. The victim did not know her attacker, police said.
“Despite recent efforts to locate the suspect, he continues to remain at-large,” police said in a press release. “The subject is described as a 20-25 year old white male, approximately 5’7” with freckles and a short brown mohawk. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a white shirt with a gray design, blue jeans, and black shoes.”
“If anyone has information on the identity and/or whereabouts of this individual, please contact Detective Joe McGrath of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at 703.228.4244 or at email@example.com,” the press release said. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477). ”
Details like the apartment address, how the suspect got inside the apartment and the exact nature of the assault have not been released.
“We don’t want to go into specifics at this time,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
A grand jury returned the indictment this afternoon, a month after prosecutors dropped a sexual battery charge against Krusinski, who’s accused of grabbing the breasts and buttocks of a woman in Crystal City.
Prosecutors said changing the venue, from General District Court to Circuit Court, and changing the charge, from sexual battery to assault and battery, were largely procedural moves unrelated to the facts of the case. Krusinski’s arrest in May helped to spark a national conversation about sexual assault in the military.
A trial date is expected to be set on Thursday in Arlington Circuit Court.
Joseph Rivera, 34, has been charged with aggravated sexual battery in connection with the incident, which police say took place between 2:00 and 2:33 a.m. on December 26, 2010. According to police, Rivera sexually assaulted an unconscious 26-year-old woman in a vehicle in a parking lot somewhere in Clarendon.
The victim came forward after seeing news reports about Rivera, who last week was charged with numerous sex offenses by Fairfax County Police. Those charges include rape, aggravated sexual battery, animate object sexual penetration and two counts of unlawful filming; police say Rivera sexually assaulted several unconscious women and made videos of some of the assaults.
Rivera, formerly of 724 Four Mile Road in the Arlandria section of Alexandria near the Arlington border, was arrested in Las Vegas and is awaiting extradition.
The Arlington victim saw Rivera’s mug shot on the news and contacted police, Arlington Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said. Detectives showed her one of the videos he made to establish positive identification.
“The victim saw the news coverage and called police,” he said. “She was able to identify herself in one of the videos the suspect had taken.”
Rivera worked as a DJ at several D.C. area bars under the name Joey Flash. According to the Washington Post, one of the bars he worked at was A-Town Bar and Grill, in the Ballston area.
The bar was operated under a different name in 2010 and Sternbeck was unable to say whether Rivera had been working as a DJ the night of the alleged Dec. 26, 2010 incident.
The sexual battery charge against Lt. Col Jeffrey Krusinski — the former chief of the U.S. Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch — has been dropped, but Arlington County prosecutors intend to charge him with regular assault instead.
Police arrested Krusinski in May after an incident that we’re told began near Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, and then carried over to a nearby parking lot. He is accused of grabbing the breasts and buttocks of a woman he didn’t know.
At the time, Krusinski was chief of the Air Force’s program to prevent sexual assault, but he was removed from that position shortly after his arrest. According to the Air Force Times, a female two-star general now leads the branch.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos said dropping the sexual assault charge is a procedural move. Prosecutors are seeking a grand jury indictment for the new assault charge on August 19.
The change means the case can now head to Circuit Court instead of General District Court. It prevents a potential extra step in the prosecution, since convictions in the lower court can be appealed to the Circuit Court.
Just as with sexual battery, a charge of assault and battery is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia and carries similar maximum penalties — a fine and up to one year in jail. The main difference is that prosecutors do not have to make the case for lewd behavior or intent.
Krusinski’s attorney, Barry Coburn, released the following statement today:
One of the most critical tasks prosecutors perform is the exercise of prosecutorial discretion: deciding how a case should be charged. Here, the prosecutors in Arlington County have exercised their discretion with care and judgment. While we respectfully disagree with the decision to charge Lt. Col. Krusinski with any offense, and look forward to defending our client at trial, we very much appreciate the care and diligence with which these prosecutors reached the conclusion that a sex offense could not legitimately be charged in this case.
Charging decisions such as this one must be based on the facts and the law of each individual case, not on politics or the desire to have a “teachable moment” concerning issues such as sexual abuse in the military. It is noteworthy that the reason this case became highly publicized was the combination of Col. Krusinski’s job responsibilities in the Air Force and the fact that he initially was arrested for misdemeanor sexual battery. His name and photograph were in virtually every newspaper in the country for these reasons. Now a decision has been reached by careful, responsible prosecutors that that was not the correct charge. This sequence of events hopefully will, in the future, give all of us, particularly persons of great responsibility, pause before we make premature judgments about pending criminal cases before trial, particularly cases involving individuals who have devoted their entire professional lives to military service.
Miguel Angel Pinedo-Valdivia, 50, has been charged with Attempted Forcible Sodomy in connection with an incident on Thursday, April 11. Police say Pinedo-Valdivia, who has ties to residences in Arlington County and Maryland, picked up a 17-year-old boy outside a restaurant on the 4100 block of Columbia Pike, offering the boy potential work.
“The victim, being in the country only a few months, was tricked into a back seat of a vehicle thinking he had an offer of employment,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Pinedo-Valdivia drove his Mercedes sedan into Maryland, where he engaged in “aggressive sexual advances…. and inappropriate touching” of the boy, according to Sternbeck. The man then drove back into Arlington County, where he again tried to sexually assault the 17-year-old, Sternbeck said.
“After numerous unsuccessful attempts to sexually assault the victim, along with additional pleas to stop, the suspect then allowed the victim to exit the vehicle,” said Sternbeck.
Investigators believe Pinedo-Valdivia may have assaulted other young immigrants, and are asking for any victims to step forward.
“Information revealed in the investigation indicates that there are potentially other victims and police believe Pinedo-Valdivia could be targeting the Hispanic immigrant population,” police said in a press release. “Anyone who has information about this suspect or has information on additional victims is asked to call Detective Hermes Molina at 703.228.4208 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”