WASHINGTON – Darnell Franklin, 27, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to a charge of third-degree sexual abuse for groping a stranger after pushing her into the back seat of a car, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips.
Franklin pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia under what is known as the Alford doctrine. Under an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit the allegations but agrees that the government has enough evidence to secure a conviction. The Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Lugo scheduled sentencing for Oct. 27, 2017. Once released from prison, Franklin will be required to register as a sex offender for a 10-year period and will be on supervised release for three years.
According to the government’s evidence, on April 22, 2017, at about 7 p.m., Franklin approached the victim – a total stranger – inside a store at 35th and Clay Streets NE, where he tried to engage her in small talk and told her that she was pretty. The victim told Franklin that she had a boyfriend, concluded her business in the store, and left.
Franklin then followed the victim outside, to a car-for-hire that was waiting to drive her home. As the victim was getting into the back seat of that car, Franklin pushed her in, got in beside her and began fondling her as she tried to fight him off. The driver saw what was going on and got out of the car to come to the victim’s aid. As the driver neared the back door of his car, Franklin fled down the street. The driver and the victim saw some nearby officers with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and told them what had happened.
The MPD officers spotted Franklin, and with other officers, chased and caught him.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips praised the work of officers from MPD’s Sixth District and from MPD’s Sexual Assault Unit. He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Brenda C. Williams and Victim/Witness Advocate Veronica Vaughan. Finally, U.S. Attorney Phillips commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter V. Taylor, who investigated and prosecuted this case.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of Columbia