A man who has been convicted 20 times for sexually assaulting women in the District was arrested again this week after police reported another attack — two weeks after the suspect had been charged with groping three other women in Northwest.
A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered Michael Hilliard, 57, of no fixed address, detained until a preliminary hearing on Friday.
His latest arrest came about 2 a.m. Wednesday in the 1600 block of Seventh Street NW, in the Shaw neighborhood. Police said in a report that Hilliard lunged at a woman as she walked by on a sidewalk and grabbed her in an inappropriate place. The report also says the woman was grabbed in the back.
In a break from past cases, prosecutors on Wednesday charged Hilliard with a felony, third-degree sexual abuse with force. That carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; the misdemeanor sex abuse charge he has previously been convicted of carries a maximum 180 days in jail.
When he was arrested Wednesday, Hilliard was out on release after being charged with groping three women in early January in Logan Circle, the U Street corridor and near Thomas Circle. He has a court hearing Feb. 2 in those cases.
Court records show that Hilliard has been convicted at least 20 times since 1991 of misdemeanor sexual abuse, most for inappropriately touching random women. He also has been screened for mental illness, the records show.
In recent weeks, residents have taken to the D.C. police Internet bulletin board to complain about Hilliard’s releases from jail. On Thursday, a top police official relayed a conversation she had with a resident who asked her: “How many times does MPD have to arrest this man before he is taken off the streets?”
A judge on Friday will decide whether Hilliard should stay in jail until his trial. It is unclear whether Hilliard has an attorney.