The police did interviews, took statements, watched hours of security video until they froze the frame there — right there! — and found the jerk on the bike, his victim screaming next to him.
Then they caught the guy they believe is responsible for the attacks. Oscar Mauricio Cornejo-Pena even told them: Yup, he did it. He was a most helpful suspect, even offering up some crimes the cops didn’t know about.
“He admitted that he committed numerous similar offenses, possibly eight or more,” according to the charging documents drawn up by Officer Alexander MacBean.
He was charged with “misdemeanor sexual abuse (with aggravating circumstances),” which, according to D.C. Official Code, is punishable by jail time of “not more than 180 days, and, in addition, may be fined in an amount not to exceed $1,000.”
That means that terrorizing women who are walking down the street, roughing them up and grabbing their privates gets you the same punishment as attending a cockfight, impersonating a police officer, trespassing on someone’s lawn or selling a fake Gucci purse.
In the District, sentencing guidelines say that a person who breaks into a vending machine or a parking meter should get more jail time (up to three years) and pay a bigger fine (up to $3,000) than a sociopath who violates women on the street.
What does this tell you about what our society thinks of sexual assault? Apparently, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), the Senate candidate who caused a firestorm by claiming a “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy, has plenty of company in the Neanderthal department.
The biking groper assaulted Gorman, 25, on a July afternoon as she was walking down the street in busy, pretty Dupont Circle. He came out of nowhere, behind her, with a swift and rough assault. She didn’t see his face but heard him laughing.
She blogged about the perils of “walking while female,” and her story went viral. After I wrote about her, I was flooded with
e-mails from other women who had been similarly assaulted, some of them decades ago. I realized the power of such an attack.
The groper didn’t stop with Gorman. During the following two weeks, at least four other women called the police to report similar attacks. In court documents, each described a man who wore a pageboy cap, carried a green backpack with strings for straps and rode a mountain bike.
They told police that he grinned, laughed and mocked the women as he shoved and grabbed them.
One woman who was attacked by him said he “rode his bike in a very cocky, arrogant, confident and relaxed manner. He didn’t speed off right after the assault,” she told detectives. He waited and watched her scream.
Another woman, who was assaulted twice in one attack (once from the front, then from behind after circling around her) yelled at him and chased him down the street.