July 29, 2019 at 1:00 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. man pleads guilty to sexual assault of 3 male victims
Bryan Webster, Juan Venegas, shooting deaths, gay news, Washington Blade

Minutes before his trial was scheduled to begin on July 25, a 35-year-old D.C. man announced through his attorneys that he was pleading guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted three men in their homes on Capitol Hill in three separate incidents in 2016.

According to a plea agreement filed by prosecutors with the United States Attorney’s Office in D.C. Superior Court, Bryan Webster, who is also known as Bryant Webster, pleaded guilty to two counts of First Degree Sexual Abuse While Armed and one count of Second Degree Sexual Abuse in connection with the three incidents.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped the remaining 28 counts of a 31 count indictment against Webster handed down by a Superior Court grand jury in August 2018. The original 31 counts included burglary and robbery charges alleging Webster stole property from the victims.

Also included were multiple gun charges related to his alleged use of a Ruger LC9 pistol to force two of the three victims to allow him to tie their arms and legs to enable him to carry out the sexual assaults.

The plea agreement, which Webster signed, calls for “an appropriate sentence” of between 32 and 39 years of incarceration, although it notes that the judge would have the final say on what the sentence should be.
Superior Court Judge Ronna Beck, who presided over the case, scheduled a sentencing hearing for Sept. 19.

Charging documents filed in court by the U.S. Attorney’s Office allege that Webster sexually assaulted the third victim while he was “passed out” on a sofa in his residence between Aug.13-15, 2016. The charging documents say Webster allegedly “took photos of Complainant 3’s genitalia, as well as, photos and a video of himself putting his mouth and hands on Complainant 3’s penis.”

The publicly filed charging documents don’t give a reason for why the victim was “passed out,” but one of the documents says the victim “did not and could not consent to this behavior.”

The documents state that D.C. police investigators discovered the photos and video of the alleged sexual assault of the third victim after they arrested Webster at the time he committed the second alleged sexual assault and confiscated his phone, where the photos and video were found.

The charging documents say police could find no evidence that Webster forced his way into the two homes where the alleged sexual assaults occurred and conclude that he entered the homes through an unlocked door.

The charging documents filed by prosecutors do not disclose the address of the residence where the first of the three incidents took place sometime between Aug. 13 and 15 – the one where the victim was passed out on a sofa.

However, documents filed in court by the defense say the alleged assault against the man who was passed out took place in the same residence as that of the third incident, which police and prosecutors say took place Oct. 1, 2016 in a house on the 1300 block of Independence Ave., S.E. The defense document says the first and third victims were roommates in that house.

The second incident, according to police and prosecutors, took place Aug. 28 in a Capitol Hill house on the 1200 block of Massachusetts Ave., S.E, which is located less than three blocks from the Independence Avenue residence. The house, which a Blade reporter visited on the outside, resembles a small apartment building.

The victim in the second incident, who is identified in court filings as A.P., reported that a man later identified as Webster appeared in the doorway to his bedroom about 6 a.m. on Aug. 28 and pointed a dark-colored handgun at him, according to a charging document filed by prosecutors. The document says the victim reported the intruder bound his hands and ankles with duct tape and “penetrated [his] anus with his penis against his will.”

It says the victim reported the intruder later identified as Webster “anally raped him for approximately 25-30 minutes,” put a T-shirt in the victim’s mouth and repeatedly told him, “Shut up if you want to live.”

The document filed by prosecutors says after the assault concluded Webster allegedly took the victim into the bathroom and put him in the shower while his ankles and wrists were still bound and a pillowcase was placed over his head. “The defendant bathed [the victim] completely, concentrating on his anus, and running the cloth up and down it to ensure that it was clean,” the charging document says.

It says the victim reported Webster then brought him back to the bedroom, placed him onto the bed face down with the pillowcase still over his head. The victim reported hearing Webster “rifling through his drawers” and apparently taking some of his belongings, the document says. It says Webster then allegedly told the victim he knows his name and knows where he works and ordered him not to report the incident to police and if he did “he would come back and do it again.”

Police and court charging documents state that the third incident on Oct. 1 at the house on the 1300 block of Independence Ave., S.E., took place about 12:30 a.m. The victim, identified as L.K., reported the suspect later identified as Webster similarly bound his arms and legs with duct tape after pointing a hand gun at him.

The victim told police he arrived home alone that night before his roommates came home. He said he unlocked the door to the house when he came home but didn’t remember if he relocked it. A short time later, while in his bedroom, he heard someone walking in the house and when he looked to see who it was Webster allegedly pulled out his gun and ordered him onto his bed.

Similar to the second incident, Webster ordered him to take off his clothes and bound his arms and legs before anally raping him, the charging documents say. But in this instance, the documents say, the victim was able to slip his hands free from the tape, grabbed the gun, which Webster had put down on the bed, and struggled to subdue his attacker.

During the struggle the victim reported hearing one of his roommates inside the house and yelled for help. Webster had apparently locked the bedroom door, but the roommate broke open the door and helped the victim subdue Webster as the victim called police from his cell phone.

After arriving and assessing the situation, D.C. police arrested Webster and arranged for him to be taken first to a hospital for treatment of injuries sustained during the struggle with the victim and the roommate, who also received injuries from the fight, the charging documents state.

Neither the police nor prosecutors’ charging documents or several court motions filed by defense attorneys David Benowitz and Shawn Sukumar explain why Webster allegedly targeted the two houses or how he allegedly managed to enter one of the two houses twice and the other once through unlocked doors.

Also unexplained is why Webster had a Virginia driver’s license but was identified by police as a resident of an apartment at 3711 Alabama Ave., S.E.

Prosecutors and the two defense attorneys declined to discuss the case with the Washington Blade at the courthouse after Webster pleaded guilty to the three-count plea agreement. However, Benowitz said he would discuss the case after the sentencing on Sept. 19.

One law enforcement source knowledgeable about the case, speaking on condition of not being identified, said the three victims reportedly identify as being heterosexual.

However, in a motion filed in court on May 31, defense attorneys Benowitz and Sukumar asked the judge to allow them to submit a defense theory “based on information and belief” that it was the victim identified as L.K. that committed the sexual assaults on Aug. 28 and the one believed to have taken place between Aug. 13 and Aug. 15. The court docket doesn’t show whether Judge Beck ruled on that motion before Webster agreed to plead guilty.

In a separate motion filed in court on May 31, Benowitz and Sukumar suggested but did not say so directly that they would present evidence in an “alibi defense” at trial that Webster was at two hotels, one in Arlington and the other in Alexandria, at the time of two of the three sexual assault incidents.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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