Erica Jones

Woman Receives Suspended Sentence for D.C. Twerking Attack

One of two women caught on video groping and twerking on a man in a gas station in Northeast D.C. received a suspended sentence and probation in the assault that the victim called humiliating.

Ayanna Marie Knight, 22, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor third-degree sexual abuse. She was sentenced Monday to 180 days suspended and six months probation.

On Oct. 7, the victim was waiting in a checkout line at a Shell gas station in the 1700 block of New York Ave. NE when a woman in front of him began to dance and rub her body against him, police said. A second woman followed the man and appeared to grope him repeatedly.

A police report said the women "used force and grabbed (the victim's) groin and buttocks multiple times in a very aggressive manner without his permission and without his consent."

The victim asked two cashiers at the gas station to call police, but they "just sat there," he said.

According to a court document, the assault continued outside as the victim pumped gas and both women groped the man's groin and buttocks. After the victim got into his car, he drove into the gas station's car wash and called 911 from his cellphone.

Officers arrested Knight Nov. 10 after an "observant pedestrian" told them where she was,  police said.

She was initially charged with two counts of third-degree sexual abuse, which are felonies, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge..

The victim told News4 he was humiliated by the assault.

"I was assaulted sexually," he said, asking that his name be withheld. "I felt 100 percent violated. I felt really humiliated also, because when someone is just grabbing your body parts without your permission, no matter who it is, that's just a violation completely."

The man said he tried to back away, but the woman continued to advance.

"As they were grabbing me, it wasn't like they were grabbing pants or anything like that," he said.

A man who was groped by two women in a gas station told News4 he felt violated by the attack. News4’s Shomari Stone reports.

Some commenters on social media said they thought the victim should have welcomed the attention, but a D.C. group that fights public sexual harassment and abuse said viewers should remember the incident was a crime.

"It's not a joke. It shouldn't be taken lightly," said Jessica Raven, interim executive director of Collective Action for Safe Spaces.

"This is a prime example of the public sexual harassment and assault that people across our city experience on a near-daily basis, and it is completely unacceptable," she added. "It absolutely happens to men, too, and it is not OK."

The second suspect has not been arrested, prosecutors said.

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