A handful of Foggy Bottom residents pressed police officers for information about a reported rape that took place behind the Spanish Embassy earlier this month, but were disappointed Wednesday night when Metropolitan Police Department officers did not have additional details on the case.
Sgt. Derwin Weldon and another officer attended the Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting to provide residents with information on the Oct. 6 sexual assault that allegedly took place just one block away from City Hall residence hall. But Weldon said he was not assigned to this specific area and that he was only there to give residents “the very basic information.”
“With regard to the sexual assault, as you can imagine, it is an ongoing investigation,” Weldon said. “It is a highly sensitive investigation, and at this point MPD is unable to release any further details concerning that particular case.”
The only new information Weldon shared was that the Sexual Assault Unit is handling the investigation. Weldon did not share if a suspect had been identified. The victim described her attacker as a Hispanic man, about 5’8″ to 5’9″ and about 135 to 140 pounds with short, black hair, Lt. Nicholas Breul said earlier this month. Residents offered their help to aid the department in its investigation.
One man in the audience said he lives right near the Spanish Embassy where the attack occurred, and asked why no one from MPD had questioned him as a potential witness as part of the investigation.
“The investigation is actually being handled by the Sexual Assault Unit, it is not handled by the Second District. It is an ongoing investigation,” Weldon said, adding that he would pass on the resident’s information to the assault unit.
ANC Commissioner Asher Corson said he found it disturbing that the resident near the embassy wasn’t interviewed, and asked that MPD follow up with the neighbor. Corson asked Weldon what residents could do to protect themselves.
“The part that’s really disturbing to me is that this was like a serial attack. this was a predator out on the street that found somebody and assaulted them violently,” Corson said.
Weldon emphasized that overall crime is down in Police Service Area 207, and that he wasn’t told whether the incident was of a “serial” nature. He said that residents should always be vigilant, no matter who they are, and call MPD if they see anything suspicious.
The sexual assault was the only one to occur in PSA 207 in the past month, according to police records.
University Police Chief Kevin Hay also attended the meeting as part of the audience, but didn’t have further details when asked by a resident about the case.
“I know that it’s not our investigation, it’s a Metropolitan Police investigation, so I can’t comment on the case,” Hay told residents.
At the end of the question period, ANC chair Rebecca Coder said the ANC would pass along any information that is made public from MPD about the case to residents.