WASHINGTON — An accused sexual predator who has terrorized a DC community for years is facing more charges with additional alleged victims, and there are fresh questions about whether the justice system failed neighbors, including young children.
In DC Superior Court Thursday, 54-year-old Derrick Jones pleaded not guilty to four new criminal charges, including two for misdemeanor sexual abuse of a child and lewd indecent and obscene acts for touching himself in public.
He now faces a total of 15 outstanding criminal charges for repeatedly exposing himself and committing sex acts in public, often in front of young children, in his Mount Pleasant neighborhood. So, brazen about it neighbors recorded cell phone video of him doing it, typically just steps away from Bancroft Elementary School
As WUSA9 first reported in May, Jones history of arrests and convictions for lewd and obscene acts that dates back to 2018. He’s been in and out of custody since then regularly ignoring court orders not to re-offend.
He was arrested most recently in April, after being accused by DC Police of sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl by allegedly exposing himself and committing lewd, indecent, and obscene acts right in front of her.
DC’s 122-year-old criminal code classifies, lewd, indecent, or obscene acts as a misdemeanor. Jones sexual abuse of a child charges are also, all misdemeanors. And DC code prohibits judges from detaining defendants before trial on misdemeanor charges alone, which is how Jones kept on ending up back on the street and allegedly re-offending.
A judge has been able to detain Jones in a DC jail this time on violations of his conditions of release from a previous case.
In court Thursday, prosecutors told the judge the U.S. Attorney's Office now plans to go after Jones with a felony charge, although that felony is not filed yet, and it is unclear how long that charge could keep Jones off the street if found guilty.
The maximum prison sentence he could receive for the charges he is facing right now is six months behind bars for sexual abuse of a minor, and a maximum of three months on each count for lewd indecent and obscene acts.