A Southeast Washington man charged with the rape of a 10-year-old girl last week near an elementary school was ordered preventively detained without bond pending trial on the charge.
Imposition of the preventive detention statute in the case of Joe Anthony Barber, 27, means that prosecutors must bring Barber to trial within 60 days.
The decision to invoke the law was in sharp contrast to a two-year delay in bringing Barber to trial on an assault charge that has been pending against him since 1982.
Commissioner John W. King ruled that Barber would pose a threat to the community if released.
Barber is accused of dragging the girl into a wooded area on Oct. 11 near Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, where he allegedly raped her, tied and gagged her and covered her with debris.
It was one of six recent assaults on children on or near school grounds that have raised concern among parents and school officials.
A police detective testified at yesterday's hearing that Barber was identified as the assailant by two men who were playing basketball nearby and said they saw Barber take the girl into the woods with him. Detective Robert Catlett said Barber threatened to kill the girl with a stone if she screamed.
However, King ruled that there was not enough evidence to support the original charge against Barber -- rape while armed -- after Catlett testified that the girl had not seen Barber actually holding a stone.
King ordered Barber held on a charge of rape, for which he could be sentenced to life if convicted.
Barber was arrested Sept. 9, 1982, on an unrelated charge of assault with intent to commit robbery.
Court records showed that his trial in that case was postponed six times and that Barber was free on his own recognizance at the time of last week's rape.
Barber was scheduled to be tried in that case Jan. 30.