More than 30 people protested Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ arrival on the Arlington campus of George Mason University on Thursday morning.
Protestors outside where she made her announcement accused her of “protecting rapists” and failing to protect the most vulnerable, and the survivors of sexual assault.
“After a week of disgusting announcements, this is going to be the worst of them,” said GMU graduate Rodrigo Velasquez, adding that there is “no legal or moral argument for rolling back protections for our most vulnerable.”
DeVos announced a plan to rethink the government’s enforcement of Title IX and federal regulations of sexual assault policies on college campuses. During her speech, per reporters inside, DeVos said she would implement a public comment period to gather feedback on it.
DeVos reportedly added that she would look to follow “due process” in enforcement of Title IX, and that the “era of rule by letter is over.” She said she would not change federal guidelines yet, nor the so-called “Dear Colleague” letter that gave colleges that receive federal money guidelines on how to report alleged sexual assaults, but it is under review.
Protestors carried signs attacking DeVos and President Trump, as well as sharing personal stories of sexual assault on college campuses. The crowd regularly broke out into chants of “Stand with survivors,” “Stop protecting rapists” and “Stop Betsy DeVos” throughout.
And when one protestor got word through social media that the protests could be heard in the auditorium where DeVos was speaking, enormous cheers, jeers and whistles broke out, as well as chants of “Can you hear us?”
Protestors promised that their fight is just beginning, and urged those looking on to speak in support of current regulations.
“We will not go back to a time when survivors go back into the shadows,” Velasquez said. “So let’s make sure Betsy DeVos hears this.”
The protestors dispersed around 1 p.m., after the conclusion of DeVos’ speech.
Video from the Betsy DeVos protests at GMU's Arlington campus earlier today pic.twitter.com/CI6Tq2M2CN
— Chris Teale (@chris_teale) September 7, 2017
Crystal City Hotel Worker Sexually Assaulted — A female employee of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Crystal City was sexually assaulted Sunday morning, according to police. A 34-year-old man from Bahrain was arrested following the assault. [WJLA, Fox 5]
Arlington Man Beaten to Death in Brooklyn — An Arlington resident was beaten to death by a 69-year-old man in his Brooklyn home, in what’s being described as a case of self-defense during a home invasion. Rodolfo Rosa, 48, of Arlington, Va., died after suffering severe head trauma during the alleged break-in and the struggle that ensued. [New York Post, New York Post]
ACFD to Hold Fire Camp for Girls — Thursday is the first day of Arlington County’s annual all-girls firefighting camp, which “introduces teens to the male-dominated career of firefighting” and encourages them to pursue a career as a firefighter or paramedic. [Washington Post]
Slow Drivers in Passing Lane to Be Fined — Starting this past Saturday, a new law went into effect in Virginia which makes it illegal to misuse the passing lane by driving slowly in the left lane longer than necessary. Those pulled over for it face a $100 fine. [WHSV]
No Flag Waving at Arlington Cemetery — It is technically illegal to wave an American flag at Arlington National Cemetery. That is an unintended side effect of — or, perhaps, collateral damage from — a 2006 federal law meant to crack down on anti-gay protests during military funerals. [Washington Post]
Photos: Costumes of BlerDCon — “The inaugural BlerDCon… brought out thousands of cosplayers of color from across the country” in Crystal City this past weekend. ESPN’s The Undefeated has photos of some of the attendees. [The Undefeated]
Photo via @kcristol
ACPD Releases New Video of Sex Assault Suspect — Arlington County Police have released new video of the man suspected of sexually assaulting a woman in her Rosslyn condo last month. Police are still seeking more information about the suspect. [Twitter, YouTube]
Big Brother Contestant Is From Arlington — One of the contestants on the upcoming season of CBS’ Big Brother is Matthew Clines, a 33-year-old renovation consultant from Arlington. The show premieres on Wednesday, June 28. [CBS, Hollywood Reporter]
Nam-Viet Closing in D.C. — The Cleveland Park outpost of Arlington’s Nam-Viet restaurant is closing, citing “competition to remain significant and relevant in this fast-paced D.C. restaurant market.” There have been a number of restaurant closings in the neighborhood as of late. [PoPville]
New Cafe in Takoma Park Draws Arlington Talent — A new coffee, beer, wine and cocktail spot called Takoma Beverage Co. has opened in Takoma Park, Md. The cafe features a bevy of Arlington restaurant vets, including alums of Northside Social and the former Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon. Helping to fund the venture is Mothersauce Partners, the restaurant investment firm and consultancy founded by Nick Freshman of Spider Kelly’s. [Eater]
Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards
Arlington’s Former Row House Ban — Responding to complaints from community leaders who “hoped to preserve Arlington’s then-suburban character,” Arlington County changed its zoning ordinance to ban row houses in 1938. That decision is one factor in the area’s “dramatic undersupply of missing middle housing.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Police Still Searching for Sex Assault Suspect — Arlington County Police are still looking for a man who posed as a maintenance worker and sexually assaulted a woman in her Rosslyn condominium on May 7. “This investigation remains a top priority of the department and detectives continue to follow-up on significant investigative leads,” ACPD said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Police continue to ask that anyone with information on the identity of the suspect or details surrounding this investigation call 703-228-5050.” [Arlington County]
Review of Synetic’s ‘Hunchback’ — “‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ gives a hyper-creative Washington group a source for one of its most beautifully realized productions,” theater critic Peter Marks writes of the new Synetic Theater production in Crystal City, which runs through June 11. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A new video released by the Arlington County Police Department shows the suspect in a violent sexual assault sneaking into another Rosslyn apartment building.
The video shows the man — described as a slim, 6-foot-tall black male in his early 20s — walking into the secured apartment building, on the 1900 block of Wilson Blvd, behind a resident who was walking her dog.
“The suspect is then stopped by the concierge who refused further access into the building,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The suspect leaves the area on foot in the direction of the 1500 block of Key Boulevard,” where the May 7 attack took place shortly thereafter.
From a prior police press release:
If anyone has information on the identity of this individual or details surrounding this incident, please contact Detective P. Pena of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit at 703.228.4183 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Savage cautions residents of secured residential buildings against letting “common courtesy come before safety.”
“Don’t permit a stranger into a secure building or buzz them into a building,” she said. “Don’t hold a door open for someone who is not authorized to be in the building. Once you enter a secure building, ensure the door closes securely behind you. If you see suspicious behavior, report to police.”
Construction Accident in Rosslyn — An accident on the parking garage level of the construction site at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Nash Street in Rosslyn prompted a large fire department and police response this morning. A worker suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the accident, which occurred around 8 a.m., and needed to be carried via rescue basket to a waiting ambulance. The response closed lanes of Key Blvd and exacerbated traffic delays caused by construction nearby on Lee Highway.
Sex Assault Suspect May Have Tried Other Buildings — The suspect in a violent sexual assault in Rosslyn may have unsuccessfully tried to get into other Arlington apartment buildings before somehow entering The Atrium building, where the assault occurred, through the front entrance, NBC 4’s Jackie Bensen reports. The suspect then knocked on doors, claiming to be a maintenance worker, before the victim opened her door and a struggle and the sexual assault ensued. [NBC Washington]
Wakefield Senior Named Top Entrepreneur — “Wakefield High School senior Tasnim Alam was named one of the top six entrepreneurs in the country at the the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Saunders Scholarship Competition in Rochester, N.Y. Tasnim is the founder and CEO of Heatless Hotness, a business that sells heat-free hair curlers that are convenient to use and create salon-like results, which she launched while participating in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s YEA! program.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
When Do Pools Open in Arlington? — Patch has an answer to the question, “When Do Arlington Swimming Pools Open in 2017?” — and that answer is: Memorial Day weekend. More specifically: Saturday, May 27. Unless it’s an indoor pool, in which case it’s open year-round. [Patch]
A man posing as a maintenance worker sexually assaulted a woman in her Rosslyn apartment Sunday morning.
The attack happened around 9:45 a.m., on the 1500 block of Key Blvd, according to an Arlington County Police Department press release.
Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect, a man believed to be in his early 20s, who was caught on video surveillance footage.
More from the ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a suspect involved in the sexual assault of a female victim which occurred at a residence in the 1500 block of Key Boulevard.
At approximately 9:45 a.m., an unknown male suspect entered the residential building and began knocking on various apartment doors claiming to be a maintenance worker. Once the female victim opened her door, a physical struggle ensued between the victim and the suspect. During the attack, the suspect sexually assaulted the victim. The suspect then fled the scene on foot.
The suspect is described as a black male in his early 20s, approximately 6’0″ tall with a slim build. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with dark pants and carrying a backpack.
Arlington County Police remain in the area investigating this incident. If anyone has information on the identity of this individual or details surrounding this incident, please contact Detective P. Pena of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit at 703.228.4183 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Update at 3:20 p.m. — Police have released surveillance footage of the suspect allegedly fleeing the scene of the crime.
Five Arlington restaurants are partnering with local nonprofit Doorways for Women and Families to raise awareness of sexual assault and help available for victims.
Starting tonight, Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, Northside Social and O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Clarendon and the Crystal City Sports Pub in Crystal City will provide customers with coasters that feature Doorways’ 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (703-237-0881) and the message, “Sexual assault impacts everyone.”
The weekend campaign coincides with the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“Our goal with this outreach is twofold,” said Doorways president and CEO Caroline Jones in a statement. “First and foremost, we want to show survivors that they’re not alone. Secondly, we want to ensure that everyone is aware of the resources here in Arlington, namely our 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline — help is available in our community.”
Last year, 187 adults and 40 children were served by Doorways’ hotline response as a direct result of sexual assault.
According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, and 54 percent of sexual assault victims are between the ages of 18 and 34.
Other services offered by Doorways include hospital accompaniment, counseling and court advocacy, which provides education about the legal system, companionship during the petition and court hearing processes and extensive safety planning for anyone impacted by family violence.
A local man will spend 25 years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman after breaking into her apartment last year.
Arlington resident Anibal Rodriguez Castellanos was today sentenced to 30 years, with five years suspended, for a charge of burglary while armed and 10 years for a charge of attempted rape. The sentences will run concurrently.
Police said Castellanos, 37, broke into an apartment on the 3900 block of 4th Street N. and sexually assaulted a 28-year-old woman who lived there on June 19 last year.
More from ACPD:
An Arlington man was sentenced on Friday, March 3, 2017 in the Arlington County Circuit Court for his role in a 2016 sexual assault. Anibal Rodriguez Castellanos, 37, was sentenced to thirty years, with five years suspended, for the charge of burglary while armed and ten years for the charge of attempted rape. These sentences will run concurrently. After his release, Castellanos will be listed on the sex offender registry and will be deported upon serving his sentence.
Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement following the court appearance.
At approximately 2:00 a.m. on June 19, 2016, a male subject unlawfully entered a female victim’s residence in the 3900 block of 4th Street N. and sexually assaulted her. The subject used the threat of a weapon to hold her against her will. During the attack, the 28-year-old female victim was able to lock herself in the bathroom and yell for help. The male subject fled the scene on foot and was observed by a neighbor leaving the scene.
Following interviews with the victim and witnesses, a composite sketch of the suspect was developed. A combination of evidence collected during the investigation and the accounts of several people from the neighborhood led to the identification of Anibal Rodriguez Castellanos.
“The victim’s searing courtroom testimony today was heartbreaking and the sentence handed down today by Judge Newman was entirely appropriate. My hope is that today’s outcome will bring a small measure of peace and closure to the victim. She deserves that.” Theo Stamos, Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “The steadfast investigative work completed by our detectives, the strong partnership with the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and the ultimate sentence imposed by the court sends a powerful message that we will use all available resources in our pursuit to keep our community protected from sexual predators.”
Detective P. Pena was the lead detective and the case was prosecuted by Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Tingle.
A Woodbridge man arrested for the sexual assault of a woman in Lyon Park was today sentenced to 58 years in prison for that and two other crimes.
Justin Wingate Poe, 35, was nabbed last May on suspicions that he broke into a home on the 700 block of N. Edgewood Street and sexually assaulted a sleeping woman.
The sexual assault was linked to two attempted abductions in Arlington that occurred in 2007. A renewed investigation into those cold cases was what led to Wingate Poe’s arrest, according to the Arlington County Police Department.
“Upon receiving the link between the 2007 and 2016 cases, Arlington County Police Department detectives began an intensive investigation including the review of cold case files, crime scene evidence and laboratory results,” ACPD said in a release. “The review resulted in additional information that led detectives to identify Justin Wingate Poe as a suspect. Wingate Poe was arrested and charged in June 2016.”
More from the ACPD press release:
Justin Wingate Poe, 35, of Woodbridge, VA was sentenced on Friday, February 10, 2017 in the Arlington County Circuit Court to fifty-eight years in prison for his role in multiple attacks in Arlington County. Judge DiMatteo imposed a sentence of fifty years for the charge of rape and twenty years, with all but fifteen years suspended, for the charge of burglary related to a 2016 sexual assault. These sentences will run concurrently. Additionally, Wingate Poe was charged with two counts of attempted abduction for incidents occurring in 2007. On each charge, Wingate Poe was sentenced to five years with one year suspended.
Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement following the court appearance.
At approximately 4:56 a.m. on May 15, 2016 a female victim awoke in her residence in the 700 block of N. Edgewood Street to an unknown male sexually assaulting her. Following the attack, the male suspect fled the scene and the victim was able to contact 911. DNA evidence recovered from this assault was submitted to the state lab for analysis. The DNA results linked this case with an unsolved 2007 attempted abduction.
At approximately 2:27 a.m. on May 28, 2007 a female victim was walking in the 1100 block of N. Vernon Street when an unknown male suspect confronted her from behind and attempted to cover her face with a plastic bag. The victim screamed and the suspect fled the area on foot. An additional attack occurred on June 7, 2007 at approximately 1:20 a.m. when a female victim inside her residence in the 2600 block of Lee Highway heard a knock on her door. When she opened the door, an unknown male subject attempted to place a plastic bag over the victim’s head. The victim screamed and the suspect fled the scene on foot.
Upon receiving the link between the 2007 and 2016 cases, Arlington County Police Department detectives began an intensive investigation including the review of cold case files, crime scene evidence and laboratory results. The review resulted in additional information that led detectives to identify Justin Wingate Poe as a suspect. Wingate Poe was arrested and charged in June 2016.
Following today’s sentencing, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theophani K. Stamos said, “Judge DiMatteo sent a powerful message today that our community will be protected from sexual predators. While nothing can restore the victims’ sense of safety and security, our community is safer today because of the significant sentences imposed by the court.”
Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “The residents of Arlington County are significantly safer now that a predator has been removed from our streets. These horrible offenses and attacks on our community will be relentlessly pursued by our detectives.”
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
Recently there has been more attention paid to how incidents of sexual assault are handled on college campuses. The team behind actNOW wants to help the victims of those campus assaults easily get access to the resources they need to deal with the frightening, overwhelming issue.
Co-founder Mark Harris says actNOW is a “survivor-centered model to help after an assault has occurred.” Many sexual assault victims are “unfamiliar with how to [report the incident]. There’s a lot of information on websites, but it’s not streamlined,” Harris says. That realization prompted him to look for a way to gather all the information into one place and make it available on a convenient mobile platform.
The web- and app-based service will allow victims of sexual assault to report the incident — either anonymously or with identifying information — to the authorities of their choice. The user enters information about the incident and can choose to inform the university, the campus Title IX office and/or the police.
Users who enter information and then don’t feel like they want to send it can also choose to store the information until they are ready to pass it on to officials. “After an event that is really traumatic, a person may want to wait to come forward,” explains co-founder and certified sexual assault nurse Stacy Garrity.
The team members add that this is not a platform for people to put their stories out to the public or media, but rather for victims to report incidents to authorities. But it isn’t only intended to be a reporting platform; the app also will link victims to physical and psychological healthcare providers.
The service makes it less intimidating to report incidents and takes the guesswork out of trying to discover or remember available resources, the co-founders say. Harris stresses that “actNOW is a liaison to the services. We do not provide the actual psychological or physical health services.”
The service started as Harris’ academic project at Georgetown University, and he found Garrity through researching sexual assault resources. Along with Harris’ longtime friend Reynolds, the three officially launched actNOW in March. The Arlington-based business now has six employees.
Much time has been dedicated to researching and initiating appropriate app security measures for both sexual assault victims and the universities where assaults occur. “We have to be mindful of each university’s rules for investigations,” Harris says. In addition, actNOW employees want to make sure strong security measures are in place to ensure the utmost protection for victims’ identifying information and HIPAA privacy.
Currently, actNOW has an app prototype and employees are getting feedback on it from sexual assault victims; so far, the response has been positive. The employees are actively seeking funding and participated in a pitch competition a couple weeks ago. They’re working toward formal app development, which they hope to begin with a tech firm in the next few weeks. If all goes well, they’d like to send the finished app to universities in April 2017 during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The goal is to spend the next three years or so maturing actNOW through activities such as receiving focus group feedback and adding additional features to the service. Eventually, employees would like to explore the possibility of expanding the service to the military.
As far as measuring success with the tool, the actNOW team says that’s achieved when people actually use the tool to get help. “It’s really hard for people to report sexual assault,” Garrity says. “So when we start to see usage of the product, I think we’ll see success.”
The team hopes their passion for developing empowerment through technology will help victims both in the short term and down the road, while simultaneously raising awareness about sexual assault.
“We want to put control back in our users’ hands,” Harris says.
Above Average Teacher Salaries? — Arlington Public Schools teachers are paid somewhere between the market average (for the D.C. area) and 14 percent more than the market average, according to a new report that will be presented to the School Board on Thursday. [InsideNova]
Potomac Yard Metro Station Clears Hurdle — The planned Potomac Yard Metro station in Alexandria has received environmental approval from the federal government. The project will now enter the design and construction phase. [City of Alexandria]
Police Release Sketch of Sexual Assault Suspects — Fairfax County Police have released sketches of two men accused of abducting a 50-year-old woman they met at a restaurant on Columbia Pike in Falls Church. Police say the men sexually assaulted the woman before dropping her off along Route 50 in Arlington. [WJLA]
New Finance Director Named — Arlington has named Stephen Agostini, the former Chief Financial Officer of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as the county’s new Director of Management and Finance. [Arlington County]
Hazmat Incident, Arrests on I-66 — Two people were arrested on drug charges Saturday after their SUV broke down on I-66 and police found a suspicious liquid in and a suspicious smell coming from the vehicle. Lanes of westbound I-66 were shut down while a hazmat team investigated the substance. [WUSA, NBC 4]
Man Arrested for Sexual Assault on Orange Line Train — A man allegedly exposed himself and then tried to force a woman to perform a sex act on an Orange Line train Monday afternoon. The incident happened as the train was approaching the Dunn Loring station, but the man was reportedly arrested in Arlington and held at the county jail. [WTOP]
APS Still Searching for More Space — Arlington Public Schools officials have been busy trying to add more high school seats as a student capacity crunch continues and is expected to get worse at the top grade levels. For now, APS appears to be focused on adding seats at existing high schools and adding additional capacity through new high school programs, like the just-launched Arlington Tech program, as opposed to opening a fourth comprehensive high school. [InsideNova]
Photo (above) of Rosie the Riveter event at the Netherlands Carillon courtesy Valerie Crotty
The attempted sexual assault happened in a grassy area near the George Washington Memorial Parkway and Key Bridge about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, police say.
The woman and the man were walking past each other on the bridge when he grabbed her and forced her into the nearby grass, police said. The man then covered the woman’s mouth and tried to get his hands under her shorts.
But the victim was able to get away, and the man fled. Police described the suspect as:
A white male, in his late 20’s to early 30’s, approximately 5’8″ to 5’10” with a medium build. He is described as having fair skin, dirty blonde hair and was clean shaven at the time of the incident. He was wearing a dark t-shirt with tan shorts or possibly pants. He was last seen fleeing the area on foot along the Key Bridge towards Washington D.C.
“If anyone has information on the identity of this individual or details surrounding this incident, please contact Detective R. Icolari of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit at 703.228.4240 or at [email protected],” police said in a press release. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”
Arlington County Police reported two sexual assault incidents in the Rosslyn area in its Friday crime report.
One incident happened near the Iwo Jima memorial, as a woman was walking home from the Rosslyn Metro station around 10 p.m. Police say a man in a ski mask approached the woman, possibly exposed himself and grabbed her inappropriately.
SEXUAL ASSAULT, 160721005, 1200 N. Meade Street. At approximately 10pm a female was walking from the Rosslyn metro to her residence when she was approached by a white male wearing a ski mask. As the suspect approached he lifted his shorts up, possibly exposing himself. The victim walked away from the man, who then groped her in the crotch area. The man fled the scene and is described as a White or Hispanic male, 5’8″ with an athletic build, wearing a black ski mask, long sleeve shirt, silver basketball shorts, and black Vans sneakers.
The other crime happened around 6:30 p.m. on the 1700 block of Clarendon Blvd, near the intersection with N. Quinn Street.
SEXUAL ASSAULT, 160721043, 1700 N. Clarendon Blvd. At approximately 6:30pm a female was walking on Clarendon Blvd. near Quinn Street when a man on a bicycle approached her from behind and grabbed her breast. The suspect is described as a husky White male wearing a dark colored bike helmet, maroon shirt, gray khaki shorts and white shoes.
The rest of the notable items from the Friday’s and today’s Arlington crime reports, after the jump.