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Posted at 06:37 PM ET, 08/24/2012

Police make arrest in Dupont Circle sexual assaults

A man who authorities say struck fear in the Dupont Circle area by grabbing and groping female pedestrians as he rode by them on his mountain bike was charged Friday with four misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse.

In court charging documents, police say Oscar Mauricio Cornejo-Pena, 30, told them he had committed as many has eight similar assaults in recent months. All occurred in daylight on streets usually crowded with people.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in a statement, “Women should be able to walk freely without being violated.”

At a hearing in D.C. Superior Court on Friday, a judge ordered Cornejo-Pena released to a halfway house until his next court hearing, Aug. 31, according to electronic court records. The suspect told police he lives in Northwest and hangs out in Dupont Circle playing chess.

He did not respond to a message left on his cell phone.

D.C. Police said they first detained Cornejo-Pena on Aug. 17 and briefly interviewed him. They said he fit the description given by four women, down to his yellow sneakers, green backpack and cap, according to court documents.

D.C. Police said they first detained Cornejo-Pena on Aug. 17 and briefly interviewed him. They said in court documents he fit the description given by four women, down to his yellow sneakers, green backpack and cap. Police said he gave them a fake cell phone number and a Maryland driver’s license.

Police said they took several photographs of the suspect and showed them to the victims. On Aug. 22, police said they brought him in for a videotaped statement, and then placed him under arrest

The court documents filed Friday detail a series of frightening attacks against women just in August. In each case, victims described being assaulted by a man on a mountain bike, wearing a green “page boy” style hat and carrying a green backpack with strings. In some cases, women said the man laughed or swore after he fondled them. One woman told police the man feigned falling off his bike and grabbed her as he pretended to fall.

Court documents state that a woman approached in the 1900 block of Q Street, NW, on Aug. 8 reported that “As he rode by after he groped her he looked back in her direction and she noticed him smile.”

Several of the women said the man reached under their dresses “in one fluid motion” as he rode by, according to the court documents. In addition to Q Street, police said the assaults in which the man is charged occurred in the 1200 block of Connecticut Ave., NW, and at 16th And U streets Northwest.

In July, Liz Gorman, a 25-year-old photographer, went public in a blog about a similar attack, which also was written about by Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak.

Gorman said that a cyclist on a mountain bike came up behind her , stuck his hand under her skirt, sexually assaulted her and then rode off.

Cornejo-Pena is not charged in that attack..

By  |  06:37 PM ET, 08/24/2012

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