"Georgetown Cuddler" Conviction Overturned
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 15:02
The D.C. Court of Appeals yesterday overturned the March 2010 conviction of the alleged sexual assailant known as the “Georgetown Cuddler,” acquitting him of a 26-year prison sentence.
Prosecutors during the trial had accused the defendant, Todd Thomas, 26, of burglarizing and sexually assaulting five Georgetown University students between 2007 and 2008.
The string of incidents originally linked to Thomas began in January 2008, according to The Washington City Paper. In May of the same year, D.C. police officer Helen Andrews reported that a second incident had occurred in Burleith.
The term "Cuddler" first appeared in on-campus media in the Georgetown Voice's blog, Vox Populi. The Hoya also published a feature April 24, 2009, tracing “the Cuddler” attacks back to as early as 2005, though links could not be confirmed among the perpetrators in the string of incidents dating from that year.
By then, the “Georgetown Cuddler,” a nickname that originated amongst students to describe the perpetrator’s modus operandi of sexually assaulting victims while they slept, fleeing when they woke up and not taking any of their personal belongings, had become an infamous but faceless personality across campus. The last reported incident occurred in September 2008, when Thomas allegedly broke into the apartment of another student living off campus.
After Thomas was detained by the Metropolitan Police Department, investigators suggested that a copycat assailant was responsible for several break-ins and assaults on female students living off campus in 2009. In addition, The Hoya reported April 9, 2011, that two females found unknown men in their rooms in LXR Hall on April 8 and 9. Perpetrators for these incidents were never apprehended.
According to The Washington Post, the jury in yesterday’s unanimous decision to dismiss D.C. Superior Court Judge Gregory E. Jackson’s original 2010 verdict acted on grounds that the judge had wrongly allowed prosecutors to introduce evidence that Thomas had pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery of an Arlington man in 2008.
The spokesman for the U.S. District Attorney could not be reached by press time.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Georgetown Voice coined the term the "Georgetown Cuddler." The mistake has been corrected.