WASHINGTON — A sexual predator who has terrorized a D.C. community for years pled guilty Monday afternoon to eight criminal charges after a WUSA9 Investigation.
The guilty pleas come after months of reporting by WUSA9 about whether the District’s justice system failed neighbors, including young children.
In DC Superior Court, 54-year-old Derrick Jones pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual abuse with aggravated circumstances; three counts of lewd or indecent acts; two counts of attempted threats and one count of threats.
The charges stem from two different criminal cases brought against Jones by DC Police in the spring of 2023 for repeatedly exposing himself and committing sex acts in public, often in front of young children, in his Mount Pleasant neighborhood.
Jones was so brazen neighbors recorded cell phone video of him doing it, just steps away from Bancroft Elementary School.
“A lot of people changed where they went,” said neighbor Zoom Kari Sansom.
“I know people, including myself, that were not allowing our children to go to the playground in the neighborhood, specifically the one that was at the school that children use after hours on the weekends. And we didn't feel comfortable sending our kids there, when they have to walk past his house in order to get there.”
As WUSA9 first reported in May, Jones has a 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.
His victims range from 5 to 11 years old.
D.C.’s 122-year-old criminal code classifies lewd, indecent, or obscene acts as a misdemeanor. And D.C. 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.
All the charges Jones pled guilty to Monday are also misdemeanors. Although the sheer number of convictions could amount to quote “quit a bit” of jailtime, according to the Assistant US Attorney prosecuting the case.
As part of the plea agreement, once Jones is released from jail, he would be required to register as a Class A Sex Offender, a lifetime designation reserved only for the most serious sex offenders.
“That's a long time coming,” Sansom said. “He should have been required to do that for a very long time before this.”
Each charge Jones pleaded guilty to carries anywhere from 90 days to nine months in jail.
Although it is unclear if the US Attorney’s Office will ask the judge to stack any of those sentences to keep him off the street longer when Jones is sentenced Oct. 16.