2021 | Police & Fire

Man charged with assaulting women, exposing himself near C&O Canal in Montgomery County

Complainants reported threats, man taking out a knife

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A Virginia man has been charged with exposing himself and assaulting women on a trail near the C&O Canal in Montgomery County this month.

Jose Edmundo Sanchez Jr. of Alexandria confronted the women between June 8 and 14, U.S. Park police said in charging documents. Police said he was born in 1996, but did not indicate if he is 24 or 25.

Sanchez was arrested on June 16 and appeared in U.S. District Court on Monday, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Marcia Murphy said on Tuesday.

One woman told park police that on June 8 she was walking along the trail when Sanchez exposed himself, according to an affidavit from Sgt. Joseph Hayes, a park police detective. Sanchez followed the woman along the trail before she called police, Hayes wrote.

When Sanchez got into a car to leave, the woman wrote down the license plate number.

The second woman told police that she was walking on the trail on June 10 and wanted to pass Sanchez, according to the affidavit. When she asked to pass, Sanchez first moved, then slapped her, grabbed her from behind and ordered her to take off her pants.

The woman ran for help and others came to her aid, police said. She called police and gave them a description of Sanchez.

On June 14, a third woman was walking on the trail when she passed Sanchez, police said. Sanchez turned around, sped up and blocked the woman’s path. Sanchez then said, “I think we should turn around” before taking out a knife, police said.

After a confrontation, Sanchez pushed the woman into a set of bushes on the river side of the path and fled, police said. The woman called police and gave them a description of Sanchez.

Hayes was on duty in plainclothes on June 16 when he saw Sanchez on the trail, he wrote in the affidavit. Sanchez made lewd comments before exposing himself to the officer, Hayes wrote. Hayes arrested Sanchez.

According to a criminal complaint, Sanchez is charged with

  • two counts of assault by striking, beating and sounding
  • one count of possession of a weapon
  • two counts of intent to cause public alarm, nuisance and violence

A federal court record for Sanchez was not immediately available Tuesday afternoon.

The C&O Canal and towpath are part of the National Park Service, which falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Park Police.

Police announced last week that they had arrested someone in connection with a string of assaults and indecent exposures along the C&O canal in Cabin John, but did not release the name of the suspect or other details. Police said at the time that they wanted to give other potential victims time to come forward.

WTOP reported on Sanchez’s arrest earlier on Tuesday.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com