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VA- Accused child molester kills self before expected guilty plea

1-27-2009 Virginia:

A 40-year-old Springfield man committed suicide in the Alexandria jail just hours before he was expected to plead guilty to filming a 15-year-old girl as he sexually abused her, an Alexandria sheriff’s spokesman said Monday.

Don Douglas, known as “Uncle Donte” to the victim and her several siblings, had convinced the girl to mix sleeping pills into her parents’ drinks so she could sneak out earlier in the evening to see him, according to documents filed in Alexandria’s U.S. District Court.

Family members told investigators that Douglas had become a close confidant and they viewed him as their pastor, although he was not formally linked to any church.

Douglas was first arrested Oct. 4 after he brought the victim to a Fairfax County police station where the girl reported the sexual abuse. After meeting with Douglas and the girl, police charged Douglas with abusing her. The charges escalated to federal charges after pictures of the girl were found on Douglas’ computer and linked to interstate trafficking of child pornography.

On Nov. 17 Douglas was ordered to remain in the Alexandria jail without bail because he had already fled from similar charges in Texas, U.S. District Judge Ivan D. Davis wrote in the order.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 12, jail guards conducting a routine check discovered Douglas had hanged himself in a shower, sheriff’s spokesman Harry Covert said. Douglas was pronounced dead at Inova Alexandria Hospital at 3 a.m. Jan. 12. He was expected to appear in court later that day to plead guilty to the charges, court documents said.

Alexandria police are investigating the suicide as part of standard procedure, and the Alexandria sheriff has started an internal review, Covert said.

Douglas had grown close to the victim’s family after he had started visiting with them in May.

A month later, the victim and her sisters spent a night at Douglas’ Springfield home, court documents said. While there, Douglas had sex with the 15-year-old. He continued to meet with her through Sept. 29 at his home and in a Pennsylvania hotel room.

At one point, Douglas complained to the victim that he had to wait too long for her to sneak out at night to see him. The victim said she couldn’t leave until her parents were asleep. Douglas advised her to put sleeping pills in her family members’ drinks.

Police said they later found several broken capsules of Sleepinal in the victim’s house. ..Source.. by Freeman Klopott, Examiner Staff Writer

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