NIH Employee Assaulted Inside Lab in Bethesda

The entrance to the NIH campus in Bethesda
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A Maryland man with a lengthy criminal record is accused of attacking a woman inside a laboratory at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

The woman, an NIH employee, was preparing an experiment inside the lab Thursday, when she was assaulted and ran for help, according to an affidavit filed by a NIH police officer.

Court filings obtained by the News4 I-Team indicate the man charged in the case, Devin Dorsey, is not an NIH employee and has a series of prior criminal cases, including a 2017 arrest for assault in Montgomery County. 

According to the affidavit, the employee did not know Dorsey and covered her name badge when Dorsey first approached her and entered the lab. Dorsey surprised the woman, stopping her as she attempted to close the door to keep him out, according to police. Dorsey “violently opened the door” instead, grabbed her by the arms, threw her to the ground and stood over her, the police report said. 

In the affidavit, police said the employee kicked Devin Dorsey in his groin, punched at him and attempted to escape by running down an empty hallway. The affidavit said the woman reached a main elevator, after which Dorsey attempted to run away, as her colleagues responded to help.

After police officers responded, Dorsey attempted to escape the campus through an “ambulatory entrance,” falling onto a parking ramp and through some tenting material, according to the police report. 

Dorsey faces a federal assault charge in U.S. District Court for Maryland and is being held in custody pending the next hearing in his case. He has not entered a plea, according to the court docket.   His defense attorney did not immediately return requests for comment.


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Prosecutors said Dorsey has a 30-year criminal history and is under supervision by the state of Maryland for prior criminal offenses and needs drug treatment.   

NIH did not respond to a series of requests for information on the incident, including how or why Dorsey could enter a laboratory on the campus of NIH. Filings from federal prosecutors said Dorsey does not have stable employment, indicating he is not an employee of the agency. 

The NIH campus in Bethesda features security screening stations for entrants. The agency also has reduced it’s daily on-campus workforce and screenings in the past six months, as it offers telework for qualifying employees, due to COVID-19.

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