WASHINGTON — An emotional morning inside a DC Courtroom Friday, as a 10-year-old boy and his mother confronted the sex offender who pleaded guilty to terrorizing their Mount Pleasant neighborhood.
The 10-year-old victim emerged from the DC Superior Courthouse clutching the same stuffed animal he held tight as he told his story to the judge.
That 54-year-old Derrick Jones threatened to kill him, his parents and his dog after his mom repeatedly called DC Police to report Jones for exposing himself and masturbating in plain sight of families and young children just blocks from Bancroft Elementary School.
WUSA9 is protecting the identity of the young boy, his mother, and his interpreter to protect their privacy.
“My son has stopped sleeping,” the mom said through the interpreter. “He doesn’t sleep, and he doesn’t even want to want to walk to the school and we live in front of the school.”
She said her son fears Derrick Jones, will come back.
“I don’t agree with the time he received,” she said.
The jail time Derrick Jones received is two years behind bars for multiple counts of sex abuse of a child, lewd acts and threats. All are misdemeanors in D.C., but victims, neighbors and prosecutors all wanted the judge to give him the maximum of three years because of a history of similar arrests dating back years.
Derrick Jones was so brazen about it that neighbors recorded cellphone video of him doing it.
DC Police first arrested Derrick Jones for exposing himself in 2018. In that case, committing sex acts in front of four children, between the ages of 11 and 14, at a D.C. public library.
D.C.’s 122-year-old criminal code classifies lewd, indecent, or obscene acts as a misdemeanor. It also prohibits judges from detaining defendants on misdemeanor charges alone.
So, Derrick Jones was released. Then he never showed up for court.
In 2021, Derrick Jones was arrested again. This time it was for exposing himself and committing lewd acts on the Metro at the Columbia Heights station. A judge found Jones guilty, but suspended his 30-day prison sentence and put him on supervised probation instead.
In 2022, MPD detectives once again arrested him on that misdemeanor charge of committing lewd, indecent, or obscene acts. This time, Derrick Jones was at a bus stop in Mount Pleasant.
In all but one of his prior arrests, D.C.’s criminal code mandated a catch and release cycle, in which Derrick Jones would continually be returned to his neighborhood – and his past behavior.
Finally in April, Derrick Jones was arrested again for another series of lewd acts, and threatening that 10-year-old and his parents for trying to stop him. In court, Derrick Jones’ public defender, Raymond Jones, argued for a lighter sentence telling the judge a history of abuse as a child, and an addiction to PCP, drove the defendant to commit his crimes.
“I wouldn’t call it a cop out,” Raymond Jones said. “It’s not an excuse. It’s a reason why. It’s so you can understand that, you know, drugs do really bad things to the community.
“Everyone knows D.C. has a crime problem,” the attorney continued. “However, they also have a drug problem. And that drug problem causes that crime problem. So, I didn’t want the judge to just throw the book at him, knowing that at some point he’s going to get out. And do we solve the problem? Where do we just kick it down the road?”
DC Superior Court Associate Judge Sean Staples ultimately decided to factor in Derrick Jones’ childhood trauma and drug addiction when sentencing him to two years with an additional three years of supervised probation, including mental health, drug and sex offender treatment.
“Hurt people, hurt people,” Staples said. “I think that’s part of what we are dealing with here.” He called the 10-year-old who gave his statement “a brave little boy.”
When asked if Derrick Jones will reoffend when he is released, that 10-year-old’s mother was quick to respond.
“Si,” she said.
Derrick Jones will have to register as a Class A Sex Offender. And he can never return to that neighborhood. He will get credit for time served in jail awaiting trial. He was arrested in April, and he could get credit for good behavior making the exact amount of time he will be off the street unclear.