Sexual abuse allegations in D.C. summer jobs program

Two teenagers claim they were victims of sexual misconduct while working in the D.C. Summer Jobs program, according to police reports.

In the first case, a 17-year-old claims that while she was at work, a man grabbed her behind and made sexually graphic statements to her including being willing to pay her money, then exposed himself. He later sent her a text saying "this stays between me and you", according to the police report filed on June 29.

D.C. police say 54-year-old Thomas Nelson was arrested in the case and charged with second degree touching of minor by persons in authority.

The second case involves a 19-year-old woman who says the suspect approached her in a stairwell, grabbed her from behind and then penetrated her with his finger, all while she was telling him stop. The woman reported the incident the same day.

"These alleged acts are extremely alarming, disappointing and reprehensible," said Mayor Vincent Gray, who said the allegations were being taken “very seriously”.

"We will not tolerate, for a moment, the victimization of our young people in the Summer Youth Employment Program who have the right to expect this to be a wholesome, healthy and enriching work experience,” Gray stated.

Lisa Mallory, acting director of the Department of Employment Services says staff will emphasize the safety measures they learn during orientation. Additional safety sessions will be conducted throughout the six-week program.