An organization respected for its efforts to help the homeless is tonight dealing with allegations that one of its contract newspaper sellers sexually assaulted a customer.
One Street Sense media vendor has been identified in two similar sex crimes in Northwest D.C. since December.
According to the police report, the Street Sense DC website helped a woman put a name to the face of the man who she said groped her buttocks without her consent.
She told officers she was walking in the 3800 block of 14th Street NW the evening of Dec. 19, when a man she recognized as a Street Sense vendor from whom she bought newspapers began walking beside her.
Court documents say he told her she looked as if she needed a backrub and he offered to massage her back.
The vendor allegedly told her he needed “a woman’s body” and “a woman’s touch” then slid his hands all the way down her back and groped her.
The woman ordered him to stop touching her and go away.
She later texted a friend and said, “I was just violated/groped at the corner.”
Court records show the man the December victim identified, 36-year-old Jermale McKnight of the District, was also identified through security camera video in another similar groping incident. That open happened a few weeks later, at a health clinic on 14th Street on January 8th.
A Street Sense spokesman told News4 that the vendor is currently suspended for an "unrelated and much less serious matter."
"We have a code of conduct. Respect for everyone. The alleged behavior would be a gross violation of that," the spokesperson said.
McKnight was also arrested in 2019 for soliciting sex from someone who turned out to be an undercover police officer, police said.