The D.C. Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned the 2010 conviction of an Arlington man accused of sexually assaulting five male Georgetown University students and who was dubbed the “Georgetown Cuddler.”
A three-judge panel ruled Todd M. Thomas, 26, was entitled to a new trial after the D.C. Superior Court judge who oversaw the trial erred when he allowed Thomas’s prior conviction to be presented to the jury.
Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said prosecutors were reviewing the court’s decision, but he declined further comment.
Thomas was sentenced to 26 years in prison after a jury convicted him of 11 counts of burglary and sexual and simple assault. Prosecutors charged Thomas with breaking into the homes of the Georgetown students between 2007 and 2008 and fondling and sexually assaulting them. The attacks took place in the 1200 and 1300 blocks of 33rd and 35th streets NW. One student testified that he woke up one morning after drinking about 12 beers and discovered Thomas massaging his shoulders. Another student testified that he woke up to find Thomas massaging his ankles. One of the incidents occurred after Thomas burglarized his victim’s apartment, prosecutors said.
In their unanimous decision, the appeals court ruled that Judge Gregory E. Jackson erroneously allowed prosecutors to introduce evidence that Thomas had pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery in a case from 2008 involving an Arlington victim.
“The trial judge abused discretion in permitting that evidence to be presented,” Senior Appeals Court Judge Warren R. King wrote.
The Thomas case was one of two cases involving a perpetrator dubbed “the Georgetown Cuddler.” Another repeat male offender was attacking female Georgetown students about the same time.