Police announce rape arrest

City and county police released precious few details Monday afternoon about today's early morning arrest of Nathan Antonio Washington of 986 Old Brook Road in connection with an August 2004 sexual assault at Webland Court and a brutal November 2002 rape in the Willoughby subdivision.

Washington, a Harris Teeter employee and father of four, has been charged with five felonies, including forcible rape, attempted sodomy, and breaking and entering with the intent to rape. He was served with two arrest warrants, police say, one from the county and one from the city. Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Camblos says charges are pending from the University of Virginia police department.

Among the few details police released is the fact that Washington has served in the military and that he was arrested shortly after 1am Monday morning without incident. Officials refused to give any hints about what led to his capture, saying only that it was a body of information and tips "gathered over a good period of time."

Despite acknowledging that Washington remains a suspect in five other attacks attributed to the serial rapist, they did not link him to any of them, and they had no comment on the possible role DNA evidence might have played in the arrest.

"I want to impress upon you all that this is an ongoing investigation," Albemarle County police chief John Miller said. "We have a lot of work to do."

When reporters pressed for details, Camblos cut in. "We try our cases in the courtroom," he said. "We're not going to try this in the media."

Despite the virtual wall of silence surronding the arrest and their unwillingness to connect the suspect to the other five attacks, police seemed to evince a sense of closure. They enthusiastically thanked the community for tips over the last 10 years and acknowledged the hard work of the members of the various special task forces charged with investigating the string of incidents.

Police said Washington is currently being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail and is set to be arraigned in city and county courts Thursday morning by video conference, or sooner if a judge becomes available.

Charlottesville police chief Tim Longo urged any victims who have stayed silent or anyone with additional information regarding the case to step forward.

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3 comments

isn't his name Nathan Antonio Washington? Not Anthony?

A collective sigh of relief is being heard throughout our city. Having operated an art studio for twelve years in locations all over the city (Starr Hill, Elliewood Avenue, Park Street) and finding myself out in the early a.m. hours returning to my home my spirit is lifted to hear of the arrest of the alleged serial rapist who has had a place in the back of my mind since the first rape occurred. One of the considerations for closing said studio early this year was as a result of an accident and deteriorating physical health I did not feel safe either in my studio or out on the street; how would I defend myself against an attack? We women have a sense of things and unfortunately in this case there was not much the victims could do because of his mode of operation. Having lived alone in big cities and capable in many areas of self defense, I always said he would be one sorry attacker if he came up against me, inside or outside. As my physical capabilities declined I have certainly limited my way of life as a necessity and for the first time in my life have felt what defenseless women feel. Although I would fight to the death even now it seems intelligent to remove opportunity for any attack which I have done. That is the sad circumstance in our fair city for we women know just because these crimes have hopefully been solved does not mean there are not other potential attackers. Many thanks to the hard working police forces in our area for capturing this alleged maniac. I for one feel quite a bit safer now that he is behind bars.

As a woman, never have I felt defenseless. I don't fight pretty or fair. And this is still an arrest of an "alleged" man, not to belittle the situation or victims. (Can one be an alleged maniac?)

May this all get sorted out quickly and justly for all involved.