Labor Department lawyer put on leave after his arrest in break-in, assault

A 58-year-old Maryland man accused of using a stun gun on a woman and trying to sexually assault her after breaking into her Northwest Washington home last week works with the woman at the Labor Department and has known her for 21 years, according to court records released Thursday.

Paul Mannina had a “crush” on the woman, she told detectives in interviews after the attack.

Magistrate Judge Lori E. Parker ordered Mannina to remain in the D.C. jail until his preliminary hearing Monday. Handcuffed and wearing hospital scrubs, Mannina stood in court as his attorney, Michael McAuliffe, unsuccessfully argued for his release.

McAuliffe said his client was wearing the hospital clothes because he had been arrested at a Montgomery County hospital and brought by authorities to the District. It was unclear why Mannina was at the hospital before his arrest.

Mannina was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree burglary while armed and third-degree sexual assault. The charging documents described him pushing his way into the woman’s home in the 2700 block of Chesapeake Street NW about 9 a.m. on June 5. Mannina, of Ashton, a senior attorney assigned to the Labor Department’s Division of Plan Benefits Security, allegedly either punched the woman in the face or sprayed her with mace, according to the records. He then tried to stun her with a stun gun, handcuffed her hands behind her back and knocked her to her living room floor, the documents say.

The woman, who fended off the attack and escorted Mannina out of her home, suffered multiple facial fractures, bruises and abrasions, according to the report.

The day after the attack, D.C. police held a news conference and said the victim told detectives that she did not recognize her assailant. Police later said she told them she did know him.

In additional interviews with detectives, the woman said she let Mannina into her home because she had known him from work and she was working from home that day and had arranged for him to come by. Once inside, Mannina told her that he needed to retrieve a camera from his car because he wanted to take pictures of her pet, she told detectives. Mannina returned to the house with a red gym bag that contained mace, a stun gun and handcuffs, the court documents said. Mannina then approached her from behind, stunned her with the stun gun and then struck her several times in the face before handcuffing her, according to the documents.

At the hearing, the judge ordered Mannina to have no contact with the woman. When the judge asked whether he understood the order, he replied, “Yes, ma’am, I do.”

A spokeswoman for the Labor Department said Mannina has been placed on leave.

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 intern Chandra Levy.
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