Police investigating reports of sexual assaults at Wilson Pool in Northwest Washington

December 9, 2013

District police investigating a report of a rape by an employee at the Wilson Aquatic Center in Tenleytown are looking into complaints from two other young women who say they were sexually assaulted there by a worker, according to law enforcement authorities and a D.C. Council member.

Officials said the reported attacks occurred Nov. 9 and Nov. 26, after the pool had closed to the public, and that the women had gone there with two workers who used keys to let themselves inside what is considered the District’s premier public pool. John Stokes, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, said one employee has been fired and another has been suspended.

D.C. police issued a statement Monday saying no arrests had been made and that an investigation was continuing.

The council member, Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), whose district includes the pool, said residents are worried. “This whole thing is causing a lot of concern and a great deal of insecurity,” she said, adding that her constituents are asking her “about whether there’s a rapist running around.”

Police earlier confirmed that they were investigating the Nov. 26 incident, which reportedly occurred between 2 and 4 a.m. at the aquatic center in the 4500 block of Fort Drive, near the Tenleytown Metro station and adjacent to Wilson High School in Northwest Washington.

A police report says the 23-year-old woman was intoxicated and does not recall what happened to her but was told later by a witness. According to the report, the employee told police “that he knew the victim was intoxicated” and had sex with her. Authorities said the incident occurred in a locker room.

Cheh, who has been briefed by police, said the woman was driven to her home in Virginia and “pushed” out of a car in front of her house. Cheh said that after the Nov. 26 incident became public, two girls, both 17, said they were attacked at the pool Nov. 9, also after hours.

D.C. police would not comment on the additional allegations, but three department officials confirmed Cheh’s account of the incidents. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing a pending case.

Kent Slowinski, an Advisory Neighborhood Commission member who uses the Wilson Pool, said he twice tried to get information about the incidents from a front desk employee. “They told me they didn’t know anything about it,” he said.

Cheh said that the Department of Parks and Recreation should provide some details to reassure people who are concerned about safety.

“I’ve been pressing for answers, and I must say the response of the acting director has been completely unsatisfactory,” Cheh said. “I want a full report. What officials knew, when they knew, who the people who work there are and how they were hired. I haven’t gotten any response yet.

“I need to know about the managers there,” Cheh continued, “and how they’re given keys to a multimillion-dollar facility.”

Until now, the agency has not commented on the allegations. It posted a notice on its Web site saying operations at the pool were suspended Nov. 26.

Stokes, the parks and recreation spokesman, said staff members are restricted from discussing the case so as not to interfere with the police inquiry. But he said officials from his office are preparing a memo to post at the aquatic center with some details, which he said will note that the alleged incidents did not occur during business hours.

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