Mistrial Declared in Sexual Abuse Case Against Former Thoreau MS Teacher — A Fairfax County Circuit Court jury acquitted Matthew Snell on one count of inappropriate sexual relations with a teenager after 13 hours of deliberation. The jury failed to reach a verdict on two other charges, likely prompting a retrial. [The Washington Post]
Tysons Auto Investment Company Sold — Investment firm Ares Management Corp. closed a $3.8 billion deal yesterday (Thursday) to acquire Capital Automotive Real Estate Services Inc., which gives financing to automobile dealers for buying new locations and upgrading facilities. Based at 8484 Westpark Drive, the company has recently been selling land that it owns for the Dominion Square West development. [Washington Business Journal]
Tysons Steakhouse Plans Second Fairfax County Location — The Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão plans to open a new location in Reston Town Center this spring. The company’s restaurant outside of Tysons Galleria is the only one it currently has in Northern Virginia. [Reston Now]
Funding Recommended for Local Transportation Projects — The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board approved a $7.2 million plan on Wednesday (Feb. 16) to support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure upgrades. The recommendations include the Vienna Metro station bicycle improvements and Shrevewood Elementary School Safe Routes to Schools project requested by Fairfax County. [WTOP]
Vienna Nepali Restaurant Gets Thumbs Up — “You will not find a dish quite like Royal Nepal Bistro’s fulbari naan in its homeland. Yes, co-owner Sunil Chaudhary says that the breads in parts of southern Nepal are sweet, but this creation exists only in Vienna.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Police Investigate Reported Unlawful Filming — The Fairfax County Police Department is looking to identify a person of interest in the unlawful filming of a minor at the Surf N Suds laundromat at 5715 Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads. A teenage girl reported seeing a phone with a camera coming from the ceiling of the women’s bathroom around 7:50 p.m. on Dec. 12. [FCPD/Facebook]
Tysons Retail Enters New Phase of Development — “The face of the retail market in Tysons is changing. A series of new moves in the market, from longtime store closures to first-time openings to mall redevelopments, highlight how the Northern Virginia edge city is entering a new generation of its retail life cycle.” [Bisnow]
FCPS Criticizes Thomas Jefferson Admissions Bill — Fairfax County Public Schools denounced a bill proposed for the Virginia General Assembly’s upcoming session that challenges its new admissions process for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. FCPS says the legislation “rests on the fiction that any action taken to increase access for underserved or underprivileged groups is discrimination.” [FCPS]
The PARC to Host “Shop Local Saturday” Markets — “New Year, New Events! Join @CelebrateFFX, this Saturday, Jan. 15, for the 1st Shop Local Saturday Market of the year at The PARC in Tysons! This event is free to attend & will feature 25+ local business and makers who offer a variety of goods!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]
County Reduces COVID-19 Isolation Time — Following new CDC recommendations, the Fairfax County Health Department has cut the required isolation period for people infected with COVID-19 from 10 to five days, if the individual has no symptoms. People exposed to someone who tests positive no longer have to quarantine if they’re vaccinated. [FCHD]
Former FCPD Officer Convicted for Sexual Misconduct — “A former Fairfax County police officer has been convicted of sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old police cadet. John Grimes faced three charges of indecent liberties with a minor. He was found guilty of all counts on Monday.” [NBC4]
Vienna’s Tom Yum Thai Closes — “The restaurant informed customers in a Facebook post that it had closed on Sunday, Dec. 26. It had been open for seven years at 226 Maple Avenue W in Vienna. The management did not share a reason for the closure in the post.” [Patch]
County Waste Facilities to Change Hours — “The new year will usher in extended operating hours for residents to drop off their trash, recyclables, and various specialty wastes (e.g., used oil, old batteries, scrap metal) at the I-66 Transfer Station and the I-95 Landfill Complex. The new hours taking effect on January 1, 2022, are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekend hours, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., will remain unchanged at both facilities.” [DPWES]
(Updated Dec. 29) A case involving a 34-year-old McLean man who allegedly had digital child pornography is scheduled to go to trial in June 2022.
Following an investigation by the national Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, Herndon police arrested Stefan J. Koza over a year ago near Wolf Trap, according to a December 2020 crime report. The town is part of the task force, and a Herndon detective led the investigation.
The case went through the Fairfax County General District Court before moving to the county’s Circuit Court, where a grand jury indictment advanced eight charges of possession of child pornography — a felony.
When authorities conducted a search warrant at a family home last year, officers tried to get a resident to open the door, and Koza called 911, initially saying people were banging on the door, according to a court document.
“After being instructed to open the front door for police, Koza removed internal components of his desktop tower computer, ran out of the basement exit, ran through some yards, ran to the edge of a wooded lot…where he threw computer component(s),” authorities said.
He reportedly ran back toward the residence, and when authorities questioned him, he said he “panicked when he realized that police were at the door” and removed the components to “hide any trace of his child pornography downloads on the BitTorrent network,” according to a court document.
Koza told authorities he was sorry and admitted to having been arrested in Japan after hiding a GoPro camera in a dressing or changing room at an elementary school as part of an exchange program.
According to a LinkedIn page bearing Koza’s information, he served as an assistant language teacher for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme from August 2009 to July 2014.
Koza told authorities in the U.S. that he was arrested, given three years probation, removed from Japan, and ordered back to the U.S., according to a court document.
Tysons Reporter contacted Koza’s attorney for comment but didn’t receive a response by press time.
Comic and anime websites have described Koza as a manga translator.
A McLean resident who ran a religious mentorship institute out of his home allegedly sexually assaulted at least two children involved in the program, the Fairfax County Police Department reported today (Wednesday).
According to the news release, detectives from the department’s Major Crimes Bureau Child Abuse Squad arrested 75-year-old Antonio Perez-Alcala Monday evening (Nov. 1) at 2001 Great Falls Street, where he lived and operated the Secular Institute Stabat Mater.
Perez-Alcala has been charged with nine counts of aggravated sexual battery and is currently being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
According to the FCPD, detectives learned on Oct. 28 that a child had told an adult that they were sexually assaulted by a leader of Stabat Mater.
“Detectives determined Antonio Perez-Alcala owned the McLean home where he operated the Secular Institute,” police said in the news release. “Juveniles attended private mentoring sessions, often in Perez-Alcala’s bedroom. The victim was sexually assaulted during the private sessions.”
Police identified a second victim through a preliminary investigation that led them to obtain an arrest warrant for Perez-Alcala.
There could be additional victims, as Perez-Alcala had held various religious positions in Northern Virginia since the mid-1990s, the FCPD says.
Since the mid-1990s, Perez-Alcala held various positions throughout the Northern Virginia area where he had contact with young members of our community. Detectives are asking anyone with information about this case or believe Perez-Alcala had inappropriate contact with a child to please call our Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 3.
Perez-Alcala was affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington from 1994 to 2008 in a non-ordained capacity. Detectives are working with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington to determine if any additional victims may have been impacted.
The FCPD accepts anonymous tips through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-8477), text (“FCCS” plus tip to 847411), and online. Tipsters can receive cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 if their information leads to an arrest.
Stabat Mater is an all-male group that focuses on “the formation of young people toward integrating the spiritual with the secular” and is part of the U.S. Conference of Secular Institutes.
According to the Secular Institutes website, members commit to a life of “poverty, chastity and obedience” and work to spread Christian teachings through charity and gospel. The practice is part of the Catholic Church, but members can be either clergy or laypersons.
The U.S. Conference of Secular Institutes did not immediately return a request for comment.
According to a 2016 article from the Arlington Catholic Herald, Perez-Alcala got involved with Stabat Mater in the 1960s and was assigned to the D.C. area in 1993. At that time, there were four men in residence at the McLean Stabat Mater.
A 26-year-old man from McLean has been convicted by a federal jury for creating and watching child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced yesterday (Wednesday).
Federal prosecutors say Zackary Ellis Sanders sexually exploited at least six different minors between 2017 and 2020, according to the news release:
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, from at least 2017 to 2020, Zackary Ellis Sanders, 26, engaged in sexual conversations over multiple mobile messaging platforms with at least six different minors. In these conversations, he directed five minors to engage in sexually explicit and self-harming conduct, record themselves doing so, and send the resulting videos to him. He also received videos of a sixth minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Additional forensic evidence recovered from multiple laptops and thumb drives found in Sanders’s bedroom pursuant to a court-authorized search established that he possessed different images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of other children, including videos depicting the sexual abuse of a toddler and prepubescent children being sexually abused and subjected to sadistic acts. Sanders obtained these images from a Darkweb website, the sole purpose of which was to share and facilitate the viewing of such material.
Sanders faces at least 15 years in prison — the mandatory minimum for the production, receipt, and possession of child pornography charges of which he was convicted. U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III has set the sentencing hearing for March 4, 2022.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative that the Department of Justice launched in May 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Photo via Google Maps
Local Swim Coach Arrested on Child Porn Charges — Fairfax County police have arrested a 21-year-old aquatics instructor for possession of child pornography after finding thousands of explicit images and videos in an online Dropbox account. The suspect has been a Fairfax County Park Authority employee since 2015, but so far, none of the victims appear to be county residents or have connection to his job as a swim instructor. [WTOP]
Code Violation Pushes Farmers Market Out of Vienna — The NOVA Central Farm Market has moved to Marshall High School outside of the Town of Vienna’s limits, because the town code only allows one farmers market. Operated by Central Farm Markets, the market had operated at Marshall High until the closure of schools due to COVID-19 last year prompted a relocation to Holy Comforter Church on Beulah Road. [Patch]
New Tech Company Launches in Tysons — The new technology startup LevelFields announced the public launch of its artificial intelligence platform that helps investors predict stock prices on Monday (Oct. 4). Based in Tysons, the company was developed in response to the volatility introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic and has received funding from the Center for Innovative Technology, among other sources. [LevelFields]
Meet New Fairfax Parks Director — “Jai Cole, who on Sept. 14 became the new executive director of Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), wants to make the park system more accessible and equitable. Cole spent the past 16 years with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery Parks. During a recent phone interview, the Silver Spring resident told the Sun Gazette why she returned to her home county.” [Sun Gazette]
Virginia Requires Vaccinations for All State Workers — About 122,000 state employees must show proof that they have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 1 or undergo weekly testing with proof of a negative result, Gov. Ralph Northam said yesterday (Thursday). Noting that 98% of COVID hospitalizations since January have been unvaccinated people, he encouraged local governments and businesses to adopt similar mandates. [Office of the Governor]
Woman Shot by Fairfax County Police Officer Charged — “Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis on Thursday released body-camera video of the July police shooting of a resident of a group home for the intellectually disabled…Police identified the woman who was shot as 30-year-old Jiyoung Lee of Springfield. Lee, who was later charged with assault on an officer, was taken to the hospital following the shooting and is still recovering.” [The Washington Post]
County Prosecutor Launches New Specialized Units — Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced on Tuesday (Aug. 4) that his office has established two new teams that will focus exclusively on domestic violence cases and crimes against children. The units will consist of 15 new prosecutors who will all be trained in working with victims of trauma. [WTOP]
Capital One Hall to Hold Job Fair — Scheduled to open on Oct. 2, Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) in Tysons will hold a job fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 10) as the performance venue prepares for its inaugural season. Available positions include bartenders, cooks, banquet servers, dishwashers, security, audiovisual technicians, and more. [Capital One Hall/Twitter]
Police arrested, and then released on bond, former Thoreau Middle School Principal Yusef Azimi after police say he failed to report complaints of suspected child abuse.
The investigation into the failure to report complaints to either child protective services or police spun out of the investigation into Matthew Snell, who was arrested last year on charges of sexually abusing a student.
“As a result of an investigation involving former teacher Matthew Snell, Detectives confirmed that complaints of suspected child abuse were reported to Thoreau Middle School Principal, Yusef Azimi in Oct. 2019,” police said. “However, the complaints were not subsequently reported to CPS or the police, as required by law. Detectives obtained an arrest warrant charging Azimi, 41, of McLean, with failure to report suspected child abuse.”
Police said Azimi turned himself in Wednesday afternoon at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where the warrant was served. Azimi was released with a $3,000 unsecured bond.
The Thoreau Middle School website indicated that Azimi is no longer principal at the school, replaced with interim Principal Sharamaine Williams
“This arrest is the culmination of an exhaustive investigation into Snell which lasted nearly 12 months, included approximately 30 interviews and 24 search warrants,” police said. “If you suspect a child may be a victim of abuse you are asked to call our Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800, option 4.”
Police said tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone via 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or by text, typing FCCS plus the tip to 847411. Tips can also be submitted online. Tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest.
Fairfax County Child Protective services can also be contacted at Fairfax County Child Protective Services (CPS) Hotline 703-324-7400.
Photo via Fairfax County Police Department
Fairfax County police arrested a 50-year-old man who allegedly inappropriately touched a child at an in-home daycare in the Falls Church area.
Police arrested Falls Church resident Santiago Alvarado Garcia on Friday (March 27).
The Falls Church-area daycare has been at 2988 Monticello Drive since 2017 and was previously located at 7503 Parkwood Court in 2016, police said.
“Garcia is employed by a general contractor and has lived in the homes as his primary residence while the daycare has been in operation.”
Garcia has been charged with three counts of aggravated sexual battery.
“Victim specialists from our Victim Services Division have been assigned to ensure that the identified victim is receiving appropriate resources and assistance,” police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3. Detectives are looking to talk to people who are concerned that their child might have had inappropriate contact with Garcia.
Photo of Garcia via FCPD