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JUST IN: Former community activist accused of sexual assault found guilty

Elder Julio Basurto speaks during the County Board recessed meeting in 2021 (via Arlington County)

An Arlington man accused of sexually assaulting women he lured into his car in Clarendon has been found guilty on all counts.

Julio Basurto was convicted on four criminal counts after a three-day trial, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington and Falls Church announced Wednesday evening.

The prosecutor’s office noted that Basurto recorded video of one of his attacks.

Police said Basurto would drive up to Clarendon’s nightlife district early in the morning and offer women a ride, then would sexually assault the victim in his car. Detectives are still seeking potential victims from multiple other possible incidents ranging from September 2021 to September 2022.

Basurto was arrested last June, after an assault that occurred on May 21, 2023.

Prior to his arrest, Basurto was frequently quoted by local news outlets as a community activist, often going by his church title, “Elder Julio Basurto.” He was outspoken on local issues from drug overdoses in schools to conditions in affordable apartment complexes.

Basurto also previously worked as an interpreter, including for Arlington Public Schools, according to his LinkedIn profile. He served on an APS advisory committee, received an award from a prominent local nonprofit for his tenant advocacy, and was highlighted by a County Board member on his website’s endorsements page.

More on the trial and conviction, below, from a press release.

Today, following three days of trial and about two hours of deliberation, a jury found Julio Basurto guilty on all charges brought by this office. Mr. Basurto was convicted of two counts of abduction with intent to defile, one count of object of sexual penetration, and one count of forcible sodomy.

These charges stemmed from two separate incidents in the Clarendon area, one on October 10, 2021, and another on May 21, 2023, in which he lured two different women into his car, and sexually assaulted each of them.

During the investigation, it came to light that Mr. Basurto recorded one of the sexual assaults and saved the video on his mobile phone in a file that was double encrypted.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nassir Aboreden successfully tried the case and obtained the guilty verdicts from the jury. Our Victim Witness team provided essential support and helped the victims navigate the legal system. The Office is grateful to the ACPD, who doggedly investigated this case since the first reported instance, in 2021, and the Special Victims Unit detectives for their care in preparing the case and sensitivity toward the victims.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti said, “I’m grateful the jury came to the right verdict here. It’s hard to say that this is justice because the victims will always have to live with the trauma they have endured in these violent sexual assaults – but this is a win for public safety, so no woman trying to enjoy a night out with her friends has to fear that Mr. Basurto will do the same to them.”

Sadly, based on information obtained during the criminal investigation, detectives believe there may be additional incidents that occurred during the early morning hours on the following dates:

  • September 20, 2021
  • October 3, 2021
  • October 14, 2021
  • September 4, 2022

We urge anyone who may have experienced a similar incident or who has had past inappropriate encounters with Mr. Basurto to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s tip line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected]. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Jo DeVoe contributed to this report

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