Would-Be Sex Assault Victim Takes a Bite Out of Crime

by ARLnow.com August 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm 6,872 54 Comments

A woman got the better of a man who attempted to sexually assault her in Courthouse, near Key Elementary School.

The attack happened on the 2400 block of N. Custis Road, just past 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, as the woman was walking home alone from the Courthouse Metro station. Police say a man came up from behind, grabbed her, forced her to the ground, and placed his hand over the woman’s mouth while he attempted to use his other hand to sexually assault her.

Before he could do so, however, the woman bit him on the hand and screamed for help. The man ran off as three people who heard the scream ran over to assist the victim.

Police attempted to locate the suspect — described as a 5’7″, 200 lbs white male who was wearing a white button-down shirt and blue jeans — but ultimately were unsuccessful, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

  • CrystalMikey

    Good for her…I hope that makes that perp think twice the next time he wants to try something like that again.

    • nunya


      • awesomepossom

        Dude sounds like a fatass.

  • Never alone

    I’m glad she was able to flee, but this goes to show, never walk home in un-lit, un-traveled places alone at night. That area doesn’t have very good lighting and other than a few cars, isn’t very populated late at night like the main Blvd thoroughfare is…

  • SomeGuy

    No one was able to run down that 5’7″ 200-pound subject?? Come on, people!

    • Tre

      Prepare to be stabbed if you are chasing down criminals.

      • SomeGuy

        Agreed. I’m not saying one needs to tackle the guy and/or engage in hand-to-hand combat. But there’s probably a following distance from which one can both observe the suspect’s movements and retreat to safety if he tries to retaliate against his follower. I.e., enough to give the cops a good lead.

        Unless he’s built like Barry Sanders, a guy with that stature isn’t likely to have a lot of speed.

        • R0bespierre

          And what happens if he takes offense to you chasing him, and begins chasing you? What if he is faster than you?

          The bottom line of this dumb civilian superhero argument I’ve seen on arlnow is that if you aren’t a trained fighter who understands fighting and practices it (police fire, military) then don’t chase criminals, or you’re an idiot trying to die. People who have something to lose should avoid engagement with people who have nothing to lose, unless it is absolutely necessary.

          People tend to have this disease of confidence when it comes to traditionally macho stuff like fighting. But if you don’t fight, don’t make the mistake of thinking you know how to fight because of some magic sauce in your ego, and don’t try to do the job of a fighter. You might get lucky, you might die. Collect information as safely as you can, but let the people who are paid to take on that sort of randomness do their jobs. If you want to chase criminals, the police do hire from time to time.

          • SomeGuy

            “Collect information as safely as you can.”

            Three caustic paragraphs berating me just to say you agree? Cool.

    • Fashion police

      If police couldn’t locate a fat guy wearing a white dress shirt and jeans at 2:30 in the morning in Clarendon, I assume he lives in the area and ducked inside with a quickness. Or he just blended in with all the other guys on Wilson Blvd at that hour.

      • Eamon De Valera

        There are that many fat guys walking around Clarendon at that hour?


    • JimPB

      Some Guy — You’re assuming that the assailant didn’t flee until the three persons arrived at the scene and learned that he had perpetrated a sexual assault. In fact, we don’t know how long a head start he had. We also don’t know the characteristics and status of the three persons.

      Hopefully the ACPD was called promptly and responded quickly.

      • SomeGuy

        I’m assuming it happened as reported: “The man ran off as three people who heard the scream ran over to assist the victim.”

        Granted, he could have been 3 miles into running off as those others came along, but the articles suggests a timelier approach by the assistants. I’m comfortable making my assumption.

    • BrianR

      It’s not that nobody was able to, they chose not to. Do you have a problem with that?

      • SomeGuy

        BrianR, if as you assume, they were able to and chose not to, I would kindly suggest they do a little more next time to help the police identify the suspect. And since you’re assuming, I’ll acknowledge that I’m basing my comment on the assumption (as stated in my comment above) that one would have been able to follow at a safe distance so as to get a better look at the suspect and/or watch his movements.

        Do you have a problem with that?

        • BrianR

          u mad

  • BallstonBob

    Is it me or has there been a huge increase of sexual assaults in Arlington this year?

    • b-money

      There’s been a huge increase of all violent crimes in Arlington this year.

      • JimPB

        Data, please?

        • b-money

          In keeping with the ‘Is it just me’, I meant that it *feels* like there’s a huge increase of all violent crimes. Absolutely no data to back that up whatsoever.

    • Stating the Obvious

      Seems like there’s been more crime. There’s a way to find out.

      ArlNow, how about asking police for year-to-date stats for comparison? Get them by police district/beat, please, and in comparison to this point last year and year before that. Violent vs property crimes.

      • lectricbass

        Well, compared to 2011, hasn’t there been an infinite increase in murders in ArlCo? Or is that undefined? I can’t remember. Got a case of the dumbs at the moment.

        • Stating the Obvious

          There weren’t any last year, I think there were two in 2010. I don’t really think murders alone tell us if crime, broadly defined, is going up, down, or staying the same. IMHO, it’s just too rare an occurrence here. That’s why I’d like to see ArlNow do a story on YTD stats on different types of crime, by district. That would give a fuller picture.

  • JimPB

    Have ERs, walk-in clinics and medical personnel been alerted about a while male who fits the description seeking attention for injuries to a hand?

    Hopefully the media have helped alert the public to report any such while male with an injury to a hand.

    Bravo for the victim and kudos to the three persons who responded to the victim’s calls for help.

    “…never walk home in un-lit, un-traveled places alone at night.” Yes, but unduly restrictive, also unpractical for some. Minimize, and when you must, be prepared: flashlight that can be used as a club and pepper or paint spray at the ready. Training in screaming loud — really, really loud for help would be good (most of us are inhibited about screaming really loud for help), as well as an array of self-defense moves, e.g., kicking or punching hard, really hard in the crotch area, jamming a pen or pencil point (note: doing this into a jugular vein could be fatal). Carry a gun? There’s no guarantee that you will be able to display a gun effectively and maintain control of it. So, be very cautious about carrying anything for self-protection that could be used against you with serious or fatal results.

    • Never alone

      When you leave for the bars you may not plan for this. She may have been a $10 cab ride, at 2:30am it’s best to just not put yourself in a position of danger. No matter how prepared you are, it may not be enough either. You could be approached by 3 drunk guys walking home and no average female could be able to fend them off easily.
      Maybe ArlCo should set up a SafeRide program after 2am on weeknights and 12am on weekdays. Or taxis give half-priced fares, or a flat fee for certain distances. ArlCo gives out money for subsidized housing, why can’t they help out with women’s safety? Sure, males can claim gender bias, but let’s be serious about that one…

    • ChefJ

      To JimPB – a legally carried, concealed firearm is never “displayed” it is carried only (under very severe circumstance) to be employed. A concealed firearm is never revealed to threaten and escalate a conflict. A firearm is a solution to the most base conflict – life or death. If you have drawn it, you have already elected to discharge it into your assailant. The tipping point of the conflict occurred long before the gun is drawn.

      • More FUD


  • I’m very happy for her – great job. I’m also very grateful that folks came to her help.

    But I really worry that so many women are out walking alone in the middle of the night. (We also read about women who are drunk beyond belief – clearly not this woman – but we’ve seen it in other stories recently.)

    Please ladies, take care of yourself. Don’t put yourselves in dangerous circumstances. I’m glad everything worked out in this case, but many times it doesn’t!

    I am curious to find out why we’ve had so many crimes lately. Very disturbing indeed!

    Now, somebody get this jerk and let him have it.

    • YTK

      Why so many crimes? Drugs, Gentrification, Alcohol, Gentrification — more people, more bars, more booze and drugs. And perhaps Undocumented contributions to these problems as well.

    • Liz

      Thankful that she defended herself, screamed, and that others came to her aid.

      The question is — why are there so many men making the streets of Arlington unsafe for women?

  • JimPB

    On the ACPD web page, one can sign up for weekly ARLCo crime reports (the URL is http://news.arlingtonva.us/pr/ava/weekly-crime-report-subscription.aspx). I have. I’m struck by the low rate county-wide of crimes that are reported and entered into the record.

    • Elmer

      JimPB notes: “I’m struck by the low rate county-wide of crimes that are reported and entered into the record.”

      Yes, not all crimes reported or under investigation are entered on those weekly public crime reports.

      • JimPB

        Elmer — Right, a lot of crime is not reported, and all reported crime is not written up and entered into the crime data system.
        Sexual assault is the serious crime that is most underreported.
        So many middle class and professional women have told me of sexual assaults that they experienced, never reported and only to me (clinical researcher) disclosed, usually years, sometimes decades after the fact. Then there are the co-eds who were (still are) victimized in college, often with adverse psychological and academic effects. For both groups, the most frequent predator was not a stranger they encountered on the street but someone known to them (a date rapist).

        • YTK

          Women should NOT keep this to themselves– WHY are they so reticent? THEY are enabling the perpetrators to KEEP DOING THIS to OTHERS!!

  • novasteve

    Uh, wouldn’t a sexual predator be more likely to have bloodborn illnesses like possibly HIV such that biting may be less wise than stabbing them with something?

    • Courthouse Res

      Every comment from you just gets worse. First of all, ANYONE can get HIV. Not just sexual predators!!! Secondly, stab him with what? Her nail? Biting was the easiest and most accessible thing for her. You tell me what works best for you next time you’re sexually assaulted!

      • novasteve

        Do you have anything other than insults and personal attacks? If she had a rock, it woudl hgave been better to smash his head with a rock than risk bloodborn illnesses.

        • iiandyiiii

          Steve, you must realize that a woman being attacked might not have time to stop and think about bloodborn illness- she was too busy trying to fight off her attacker. And why would she have a rock? Do you make it a point to walk home from the metro with a rock in your hand?

          Please read your posts over before clicking submit.

        • Greg

          You are unbelievable. Who carries a rock? And how many rocks do you see around here? Also, I’d be willing to bet her hands weren’t free and since she wasn’t able to spit the rock she held on her mouth for just a situation like this, biting was the best option.


        • Jeff

          You don’t get HIV simply by having an infected person’s blood (or other fluid) in your mouth. There needs to be an open wound/cut for infection to occur.

        • jackson

          Every post is the same:

          Sweeping generalization, usually about “liberals.”

          Response from another person.

          Whine about “personal attacks.”

    • Jackson

      Biting is likely safer than being raped, in terms of transfer of fluids.

      • Greg

        Correct. Saliva kills HIV.

      • Sherriff Gonna Getcha

        Perhaps Steve assumes that the body has a way of fighting off HIV if it is contracted during a rape??

        • Jeff

          Only legitimate rapes.

          • bman

            the guy needs to get tested for rabies

    • Hank

      “Excuse me, violent attacker, but would you mind giving me a blood sample? It won’t take more than a moment. In fact, I have a syringe and vial right here in my purse. Won’t hurt a bit. I’ll need to take your sample to the lab and will have the results in about six to eight weeks. We’ll meet back here in let’s say mid October-ish. If the results for blood borne infections come back negative, I may try to bite you. If they come back positive, I’ll likely ask you to pass me a rock or perhaps that shard of glass. No? Not interested? Please, carry on then.”

  • Elizabeth

    I carry a compact tactical flashlight with me at all times. I have the non-LED version of this: http://www.surefire.com/illumination/flashlights/e2dl.html

    It can temporarily disrupt vision, put the hurt on with the scalloped edges, and if you keep the light on for long enough–it will brand. Thing gets HOT. The LED version, while more expensive, is more blindey.

  • Andrew

    Three cheers for ARLNow.com for reporting this stuff. I rarely see it elsewhere in the media and it gives me a better picture about Arlington.

    Mind you, it’s a nice place and I’m proud to live here (15 years in October). But, as this story (and others) shows, it ain’t Disneyland.

  • TK

    Some of these comments infuriate me. Maybe she lives in Courthouse and is steps from the metro. Maybe she wasn’t drunk and actually enjoying an evening with friends then trying to enjoy her right to not pay an expensive cab ride and take the metro home just like guys do. Veitch street where Key is located, leads to busy Lee Highway. She was not putting herself in any dangerous situation. I hope she reads this and doesn’t feel guilty or like she did something wrong. I know someone who had something like this happen two yrs ago on well lit Clarendon blvd albeit yes late at night. Women should not feel they cannot walk home from a bar, a friend’s house etc because it’s “too late.” Well done for staying aware of her surroundings and getting away.

    • bman

      she should have been armed and shot him in self defense

  • nota gain

    Glad she bit the hand that tried to feel her.

    • Dude Where’s My Car


  • LB

    The description sounds like that Australian guy they were looking for last week that assaulted another woman. Can’t remember if it was in DC or Arlington.


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