Officer Gets 51/2 Years for Raping Prostitute

By Henri E. Cauvin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 15, 2006

With his wife in court to support him, a former Metro Transit Police officer was sentenced yesterday to 5 1/2 years in prison for raping a prostitute last June in one of several on-duty encounters the officer had with sex workers.

The officer, Darren Way, set up the June 26, 2005, liaison with the 19-year-old woman, who was affiliated with an escort service and worked out of a Dupont Circle guesthouse.

Way's attorney argued that the officer was guilty only of soliciting a prostitute. But a D.C. Superior Court jury concluded otherwise, finding that Way, 32, used the authority of his badge to force the woman to engage in sex acts with him.

The U.S. attorney's office, in papers submitted to the judge, said that Way raped another prostitute under similar circumstances last year in Montgomery County and that the cases fit a pattern of troubling behavior.

During about 14 weeks last spring and summer, according to the U.S. attorney's office, Way placed nearly 600 calls to 96 escorts, behavior that Way's attorney said had its roots in an obsession with pornography.

Way's attorney, Jon W. Norris, urged the court to treat the case as one of addiction and to focus on treatment rather than imprisonment Assistant U.S. Attorney Roy L. Austin Jr. urged a sentence of six years and said Way's statements since his conviction reflected a refusal to accept full responsibility for his actions.

Way's wife, Shannon, challenged the prosecution head-on when she stood to speak on her husband's behalf. "I want you to know he's not the monster Mr. Austin is trying to portray," she told Judge Erik P. Christian.

No one, she said, has been more devastated than she has by the revelations about her husband's encounters with prostitutes. But she is committed to him. "He's the father of my children," she said. "He's my best friend. . . . I love him very much, and our children love him very much."

Way's eyes swelled as he listened to his wife, and when his turn came to address the judge, he said that he took responsibility for his actions and that he was sorry for being part of the pain in the victim's troubled life.

Now, he said, his own life is ruined, but he is determined to emerge from his punishment "a better person."

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