D.C. police are seeking help from the public in identifying a male suspect who posed as a driver of a vehicle for hire outside the DC Eagle gay bar about 3 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, and who allegedly sexually assaulted an Eagle customer shortly after the male customer entered the car.
In a statement released Sunday evening, police said the suspect drove the victim for a short distance before stopping the vehicle in the 1300 block of H Street, N.E. and proceeded to sexually assault the victim.
The statement gives no further details of the incident such as whether the victim was sitting in the rear or front seat of the vehicle, how or if the suspect overpowered the victim to prevent him from escaping while sexually assaulting him.
However, police listed the incident as a First Degree Sexual Abuse offense. Under D.C. law, such an offense involves non-consenting sexual penetration against either a male or female victim.
A police report on the incident obtained by the Washington Blade on Monday says the victim disclosed to police that the suspect “penetrated his anus with his penis against his will and without his consent.” The report says the incident took place in an “alley way near 1351 H St., N.E.”
Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit and who said he interviewed the victim, said under police procedures he was not at liberty to disclose more than a minimal amount of the details of the incident.
Parson said the victim told him he called for a vehicle for hire such as an Uber, Lyft or another of the cars for hire as he was getting ready to leave the DC Eagle shortly before 3 a.m. on Sunday. Since the Eagle has limited space for vehicles outside its entrance, customers routinely wait for a taxi or other vehicles for hire outside the Eagle’s property on nearby Minnesota Avenue next to the Downtown Locker Room store.
“A car pulled up and he thought it was his driver,” Parson told the Washington Blade. “And he said are you looking for – and said his name. And the person said yup and he got in the car,” Parson said. “The person pulled off and drove to the 1300 block of H Street where this incident occurred,” said Parson.
The statement released by police describes the suspect as a “black male in his late 20s to early 30s with balding hair and a thick beard.” It adds that the suspect was last seen wearing a beige hooded shirt and black and dark blue sweatpants.
It describes the vehicle as a small black sports utility vehicle, saying no further description of the vehicle is available at this time.
“The DC Eagle is very concerned about the incident involving one of our patrons Saturday evening/Sunday morning and our thoughts go out to them,” Eagle manager Miguel Ayala told the Blade in a statement.
“We want to be sure to prevent anything like this from happening again and will work with our neighbors and the MPD to that end,” he said. “We strive to create a safe and sane environment for our patrons.”
Parson said one important message police would like to send to people who use vehicles for hire is for them not to disclose their name to the driver and to first ask the driver who arrives to disclose the name of the person who called for the vehicle.
“Clearly, when they call for a vehicle for hire they should not say their name when the car pulls up,” Parson said. “What they should do is ask the driver who are you here for?” he said. Parson noted that this could prevent a situation similar to what happened to the DC Eagle customer, who was victimized by an impostor posing as a vehicle for hire driver.
The police statement says anyone who may have information about this case should call police at 202-727-9099.