Fire Captain Convicted of Raping Woman Who Had Passed Out

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By Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 19, 2009

A D.C. fire captain accused of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman who had passed out at a party at his stepdaughter's house has been convicted of second-degree rape, authorities said yesterday.

Tony D. Sneed, 48, of Upper Marlboro was charged with attacking the woman, a friend of his stepdaughter, in August as she lay on a mattress in the Calvert County home. Sneed acknowledged that the two had sex but said the woman was the aggressor, according to his attorney.

Jurors deliberated nearly 13 hours before returning the verdict Wednesday night.

Kathryn Marsh, an assistant state's attorney, said jurors convicted Sneed under the notion that the woman was "mentally incapacitated or physically helpless" and could not have consented. Witnesses at the party testified that the victim had been drifting in and out of consciousness, Marsh said, and the victim said she could not remember anything after a certain point in the evening.

In a telephone interview last night, the woman said she was too traumatized to sit in court for the verdict, so she heard it only when her friends returned to the state's attorney's office, where she had been "sitting on the floor, rocking and crying and scared to death."

"I kind of just fell in their arms crying," she said. (The Washington Post generally does not identify sexual assault victims.) "It doesn't heal me, but it brings a peace of mind; it brings justice."

Joel DuBoff, Sneed's attorney, said in an interview Wednesday that the woman was drunk but "knew what she was doing." If anything, he said, "she jumped him."

Sneed has been referred to a trial board for termination, and D.C. Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin issued a statement saying, in part: "Our department will never tolerate this behavior. It reflects poorly on the department and our proud profession."

Deputy Chief Kenneth Crosswhite, a spokesman for the fire department, said Sneed was placed on leave after his arrest.

Sneed will be sentenced in September.

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