An Arlington teen has been sentenced for assaulting five women in and around Courthouse last year.
One of the victims posted the conclusion to her story — a year in the making — on Reddit this week. The guilty teen is 17 years old and lives in the area between Courthouse and Rosslyn, the victim said, noting he had a stable home life.
Last year, she said, he ran up behind her, lifted up her jacket, grabbed her crotch and pulled at her pants. As the investigation progressed, she said, the assailant was discovered to have worn the same shoes in each assault and to have taken videos, which ended up matching the experiences of the five identified victims.
The teen pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and battery, according to a source familiar with the case. He is expected to spend 10 days in the Landmark juvenile detention facility in Alexandria, with 80 days of the 90 day sentence suspended.
Details about juvenile cases are typically not made public by police or prosecutors. ARLnow spoke with sources familiar with this case and with juvenile justice, in general, to fill in the cracks and provide context.
In addition to juvenile detention, the teen will have one year of probation and will undergo a psychosexual evaluation to determine if he needs therapy. He will be required to complete whatever is recommended.
If he does not complete this or has any run-ins with the law during probation, the rest of his 80-day suspended sentence could be imposed. That means he would wind up back in the juvenile detention facility or adult jail, if this happens after he turns 18.
“Since he’s a juvenile, the sentence is (in my opinion) fairly light,” the victim said.
“That said, I’m really appreciative of the Arlington PD and the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for both their doggedness and sensitivity,” she said, while adding that she never received contrition from her assailant.
“I think I’d be having an easier time with the light sentence if his apology hadn’t been so appalling — ‘I’m sorry if anyone was, like, offended or something. That wasn’t my intention. I don’t want people to think I’m like a monster or anything,'” she said, emphasizing the use of the word “offended.”
Court apologies often feel this way, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti.
“She wants to know ‘why her’ and she wants an apology for making her feel violated. Our system is not designed for this,” she said. “Our system is designed to separate the harmed party from the person who did the harm and to give ample opportunities for the person who did the harm to contest that.”
“Our system really makes people dig in their heels,” Dehghani-Tafti continued. “So that apology — and the sentencing — very frequently does not feel healing.”
The teen pleaded to the crime of assault and battery, which is what police initially sought charges for, per a May press release.
This means he did not plead to a lower charge as part of a deal. A condition of his guilty plea to the unamended charges, however, was that it be for three, not five, counts.
The victim noted her assailant was not charged with criminal sexual battery because of a “quirk” in Virginia law.
That “quirk” is that criminal sexual battery, per state code, must be “by force, threat, intimidation or ruse.” This teen, however, assailed each woman victim from behind, taking them by surprise, which is not an element of state code, the source familiar the case said.
The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney argued for a short active sentence and three convictions, against defense arguments for a deferred disposition.
Had the judge sided with the defense, the teen would have pled guilty but the judge would not find him guilty and the charges would eventually be dropped or dismissed.
It is difficult to benchmark how one teen is sentenced versus another because there are no “traditional” sentencing times for specific crimes, ARLnow is told, though maximum time a child could spend in the juvenile detention in Alexandria is six months.
A child’s home life, mental status, criminal history, age and other factors all go into determining a sentence. Overall, however, juvenile court is set up to prioritize rehabilitation over incarceration where possible.
Per state code, the court is charged with, where possible, avoiding or minimizing jail or detention time and relying on alternative programs, consistent with public safety.
State code also says the court should only separate children from their families “in the interest of public safety and then only after consideration of alternatives to out-of-home placement which afford effective protection to the child, his family, and the community.”
The role of Reddit
The victim has kept the Reddit community apprised of her case since the beginning and credits them for helping move the case forward.
When police identified a suspect earlier this year, the victim took to Reddit again to thank everyone who shared her post.
“Because of you, I understand several more women came forward and reported incidents that sounded similar to mine and occurred in the same geographic area,” she said. “An extra-special shoutout to the woman who ID’d the guy and called [ACPD].”
In her post this week, she thanked everyone who provided support.
“It meant more than you could know,” she said. “Here’s hoping you won’t hear from me again.”
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
There’s no official word on its website, but it looks like Bar Ivy in Clarendon may have closed permanently.
There’s persistence, and then there is Audrey Clement and her decade-plus effort to get elected to local office in Arlington. Clement talked with ARLnow editor Scott Brodbeck to talk about…
Makers Union, an upscale gastropub, is set to open its doors in Pentagon City next week, says Alex Brown, the restaurant’s director of operations. This opening marks the third Makers Union location in the D.C. Metropolitan area, following the debut of its Reston location three years ago and a recent opening at the Wharf in early October.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!
This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.
100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to
2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin
Saturday, December 2
Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.