Poindexter represents ‘a clear and present danger’ to the public, judge says
by Dan Morse
the Washington Post
A 39-year-old sexual assault suspect who police say preyed on young men at local beer-pong tournaments was ordered held without bond Friday as a Montgomery County prosecutor indicated there may be dozens of victims in the case.
Joey Poindexter represents “a clear and present danger” to the public, Circuit Judge Richard E. Jordan said from the bench, basing part of his ruling on a review of photographs and a video recording found on Poindexter’s mobile phone. The images showed Poindexter having sex with men who police say were impaired by alcohol, drugs or both.
The judge said that at least some of the images showed men who appeared unconscious or unaware of what was happening. Jordan spoke in particular about a three-minute video with images of a young man.
“He appeared — clearly to the court — to be not in control of himself, and not in a position to make a voluntary decision to engage in sexual conduct,” Jordan said.
Police have been building their case against Poindexter, a real estate appraiser, for months. They arrested him last fall on one count of second-degree sex offense after a man came forward with a startling story: He said he had met Poindexter at a beer-pong tournament at a bar in College Park.
In beer pong, contestants try to toss table tennis balls into cups partially filled with water or beer, and opponents must then drink the contents. The man told police that after leaving the bar, he ended up at Poindexter’s house, wasn’t really sure what happened, and woke up on a sofa. He believed that he had been sexually assaulted.
Detectives later obtained Poindexter’s phone, which led them to believe that he had been taking images of men he had sexually assaulted. In October, a judge ordered Poindexter held in jail on $500,000 bond. But since then, police and prosecutors have not come forward with charges related to other victims.
That prompted Poindexter’s attorney, Rebecca A. Nitkin, to file a motion asking that her client’s original $50,000 bond be reinstated, which set up Friday’s hearing.
In court, Nitkin said that the sex may have been consensual. She noted that the original alleged victim asked Poindexter for a ride home after spending the night at his home. “He doesn’t have a fear of Mr. Poindexter or he wouldn’t have given him his address,” Nitkin said. “So I don’t know where this gigantic fear in society is.”
But prosecutor Patrick Mays said the investigation of Poindexter is ongoing and he is a threat. He brought a laptop computer to the judge’s bench to display the images from Poindexter’s phone. While the images could not be seen by others in court, at one point sound from a video was clearly audible and a man’s slurred voice could be heard several times saying “stop.”
Mays said the expressions of other men in photographs are telling. “It is clear from the facial shots of all the individuals — and there are dozens of them that are portrayed in those photos — are unconscious, that they’re unwilling participants,” Mays said.
Nitkin questioned why more victims hadn’t stepped forward, saying that suggested consensual sex.
Jordan offered a possible explanation. He stressed that lifestyle had nothing to do with the seriousness or lack of seriousness of the charges other than it could play a role in victims talking about the case.
“It is difficult for victims of sexual offenses to come forward,” he said. “It is particularly more difficult when it’s male-on-male.”
In the end, the judge ordered that Poindexter’s $500,000 bond be revoked and that he be held on no-bond status.