A 21-year-old man pleaded guilty yesterday to committing a string of sexual assaults in Northeast and Southeast Washington while he was supposed to be under the supervision of probation officers.
Standing before a D.C. Superior Court judge, Anthony Barber of Southeast admitted to attacking four women over a five-week span in late 2003 and early 2004 -- less than a year after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sexual abuse charge involving a 12-year-old girl.
After his misdemeanor plea, Barber was sentenced in June 2003 to a month in a halfway house and 18 months on probation. As a convicted sex offender, he should have been under close watch, but the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency was not told to monitor Barber prior to the four attacks.
A Superior Court clerk failed to note that probation was part of his sentence, which kept Barber's name from being sent to the agency. The error eventually was discovered, but a quirk in the court's computer system again kept the information from being sent.
As a result, Barber was not meeting regularly with a probation officer and had not submitted a sample of his DNA to a sex-offender database, authorities said.
On Dec. 19, 2003, Barber accosted a 28-year-old woman about 5 a.m. while she waited at a bus stop near B Street SE, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Marcus-Kurn said. He forced her at gunpoint to walk to a field on Ely Place, where he robbed and assaulted her.
Four days later, according to the government, he approached a 23-year-old woman about 3 p.m. on Ely Place near Ridge Road. The government said that he grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into the woods, then removed her clothes and tried to rape her, but that she got free and ran away.
Prosecutors said that Barber attacked again on Jan. 19, 2004, carjacking a woman about 9 p.m. in a parking lot in Forestville, near District Heights. He forced her into the trunk of her car and drove her to the District, where he stopped in several secluded locations and raped her, prosecutors said.
The fourth assault occurred five days later, about 6 a.m., according to prosecutors, when Barber accosted an 18-year-old woman near the Minnesota Avenue Metro station. Brandishing a gun and grabbing her hair, he forced her into a park, where he ordered her to disrobe and then raped her.
Authorities began focusing on Barber as a suspect after generating leads from the Jan. 19 attack. The victim's ATM card was used at a Safeway in Northeast a couple of hours after she was accosted, according to court documents. Surveillance video at the store caught Barber using the ATM, and a store employee who had gone to junior high school with Barber identified him as the man on the video.
Federal marshals arrested Barber on Feb. 10, 2004. Barber, who had been living with his grandmother on Ely Place SE, has been in custody since then.
Barber pleaded guilty to charges of sexual abuse, carjacking and kidnapping and could face a life prison term. When he was arrested, Barber was found in the company of a 14-year-old girl who he said was his girlfriend. As part of the plea agreement, charges against Barber involving the girl were dropped.
Judge Robert I. Richter is scheduled to sentence Barber on June 17.