Female concertgoer forcefully taken from Echostage, raped inside Potomac residence
POTOMAC, Md. (ABC7) —
It was New Year's Eve weekend in Washington. A young woman and her boyfriend traveled from out of state to attend a concert at Echostage. Little did the two know their getaway trip would land them in the hospital, surrounded by investigators from Montgomery County's Special Victim's Investigations Division.
On Sunday, December 31, the woman and her boyfriend left their hotel room at the Hyatt Regency Washington near Capitol Hill. They arrived at Echostage around 11:45 p.m. where Swedish DJ, Eric Prydz, was entertaining a packed house.
The couple says they each consumed four alcoholic drinks. At one point the boyfriend left to use the restroom. When he returned to the club floor, his girlfriend was gone. Dumbfounded, the man went to a Metropolitan Police Department station to file a missing person report.
The woman would later tell investigators that she blacked out at the club, but awoke to the horrific sensation of being raped in a dark bedroom. Dazed and confused, the woman shouted, "Stop, stop, it hurts!" However, the assault continued until the woman managed to break free of her attacker's grip. She ran into a bathroom, in turn realizing she was not in her hotel room. Moments later the attacker — a complete stranger — appeared in the bathroom. The woman exclaimed, “Who are you? Where am I?”
Montgomery County District Court documents do not delve into great specifics but state the woman managed to find her cell phone, which D.C. Police were already calling. The woman answered and explained the dire situation. The voice on the other end of the line told her to exit the residence, go to the nearest home and have them call 911 in order to obtain her precise location.
Police located the woman along the 12000 block of Wetherfield Lane in Potomac. They took her to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville. The hospital is the designated forensic sexual assault testing facility within Montgomery County.
Meanwhile, officers obtained a search warrant for the two-story residence along Wetherfield where the woman said she was taken against her will. Inside of the home, which is valued at more than $1.4 million, police located tenant Seung Kwak, 36, along with the victim's underwear, purse and socks.
During a sit-down interview with police, Kwak reportedly stated he purchased the woman a drink while at Echostage and danced with her during the New Year’s Eve show.
Kwak further explained that the woman appeared to be under the influence of drugs, so he escorted her from the club. He then hired a Lyft, which they departed in together.
During the roughly 21-mile car ride, Kwak said the woman fell asleep, which made him concerned for her safety. When the Lyft arrived at his Potomac home, Kwak said he assisted the woman to his bedroom where they had sex.
Police say Kwak acknowledged that the woman was "wobbly and unsteady on her feet" and too intoxicated to consent to sexual intercourse.
In a large percentage of sexual assault and rape cases, it takes weeks (or months) for police to file charges due to the challenge of building a prosecutable case. Kwak, however, was charged with second-degree rape and second-degree assault by January 2.
Echostage is located along the 2100 block of Queens Chapel Road in Northeast, near the U.S. National Arboretum. According to its website, the 30,000 square foot venue can hold as many as 5,000 people. It focuses heavily on "electronic dance music" (EDM) performances and has held shows for " industry heavyweights" like David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Avicii and Tiesto.
By email Wednesday, an Echostage representative told ABC7 the club is "fully cooperating" with investigators, but did not care to comment further.
According to court filings, Kwak is a manager at a local cabinet company. He was born in South Korea, has no children and lives with at least one male roommate. He has no prior criminal convictions in Maryland.
The Maryland Office of the Public Defender is representing Kwak, who bonded out of jail within two days of his arrest. The 36-year-old is scheduled to appear in Montgomery County District Court on February 23 at 10 a.m. for a status hearing.