SW woman charged with sexual assault of son’s 13-year-old friend during sleepover

Invited to spend the night playing video games at a friend’s home, the 13-year-old asked his friend’s mother to call his family first. Later, prosecutors say, the mother sexually assaulted the teen over the course of the night, her children begging her to stop from outside a closed bedroom door.

Police arrested Zakiya Gaskins, 32, of Southwest Washington, on Saturday, charging her with first-degree sexual abuse in the alleged Jan. 14 incident.

Gaskins lives in the 1500 block of First Street SW with her three young children, according to authorities. The teen had been playing at the apartment when the oldest, a 9-year-old, asked him to spend the night, according to court papers.

Earlier that day, authorities said, Gaskins had offered the teen alcohol. During a hearing Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court, Darryn Robinson, a detective with the D.C. police’s youth investigations branch, testified that when the teen arrived at her apartment, she gave him a glass of fruit drink mixed with vodka. He took a sip, tasted the alcohol and refused to drink any more of it, Robinson said.

That night and the next morning, Gaskins pulled the teenager into her bedroom “between five and 10 times,” Robinson said the teen told him, her children banging on the bedroom door and “crying for their mom to let him go.”

Gaskins prevented the teen from leaving the apartment before morning, he allegedly told police.

During an initial interview with police, Gaskins denied touching the teenager. But in a follow-up interview, Robinson said that Gaskins acknowledged some “contact” with the teen, saying he “wanted” to touch her and “knew what he was doing.”

Sitting in the courtroom Wednesday with her hands and ankles shackled, Gaskins at times bowed her head and wiped away tears.

Judge Robert E. Morin ordered Gaskins to remain in the D.C. jail because of a pending case involving threats she allegedly made against a neighbor. Her attorney, Thomas L. Dybdahl of the Public Defender Service, had wanted her released to a halfway house or her mother’s house.

Dybdahl also requested a mental and psychological examination for Gaskins. A trial was set for March 5.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.



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