Alexandria, VA

An Alexandria man has pleaded guilty to two counts of producing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Abel Amcrocio, 54, was arrested last year, and after pleading guilty, is scheduled to be sentenced on August 4. Amcrocio faces a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The press release said the child pornography started when Ambrocio, who is a Mexican national, developed an online relationship with a woman in Honduras over an unnamed social media platform.

“From around October 2018 through at least February 2019, Ambrocio instructed the woman to record and send him over 100 images of herself sexually abusing her two children — an approximately three-year-old boy and an approximately ten-year-old girl,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release. “Ambrocio instructed the mother to engage in specific sex acts with her children and record herself doing so on multiple occasions, even when she told Ambrocio that one of the children was in pain and crying from the previous sex act.”

In March 2019, Ambrocio distributed images of the woman abusing her three-year-old on a social media platform.

“The defendant’s conduct, which caused the sexual abuse of two young children by their own mother, is both horrific and heartbreaking,” said Raj Parekh, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The production of child pornography inflicts devastating and lifelong harm to society’s most vulnerable victims. [The Eastern District of Virginia] is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring child sexual predators to justice.”

The press release noted that the case was brought forward as part of Project Safe Childhood, an initiative launched in 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.

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(Updated 1:30 p.m.) A woman was allegedly stabbed in the head by the father of her child after he allegedly forced his way into her apartment in the Arlandria neighborhood of Alexandria.

The incident occurred on September 26 at around 9:15 p.m. in the 700 block of Tennessee Avenue.

“After assaulting her with the knife, (the suspect) then took his three-year-old son and left the area in an unknown direction,” according to a police search warrant affidavit that was issued last month.

Police pinged the suspect’s phone, and found that it was in the apartment where the incident occurred. Police answered the suspect’s ringing phone from a contact listed as “Carlos trabajo” (Carlos work), and the caller said he’d been watching the suspect’s son and was wondering when he was going to pick him up.

The boy was soon reunited with his family.

The suspect, 36-year-old Miguel Moreno, has not been apprehended and is wanted for statutory burglary, abuse or neglect of children and malicious wounding.

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Morning Notes

Beyer Urges Senate to Remove Trump After House Impeachment — “Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the United States, and a menace to the Constitution. The events of the past week, my conscience, my oath of office, and my duty to the people of Northern Virginia allow no other course than to vote for his impeachment. I urge the Senate to remove him from office as swiftly as possible.” [Beyer.house.gov]

Police Seeking Alexandria Man For Assaulting Woodbridge Boy — “Ian M. Simpson is wanted after police said he attempted to strangle an 8-year-old boy during after two arguments between the two relatives.” [Patch]

Police: Business Robbed on N. Quaker Lane Wednesday Morning — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a robbery from a business in the 1600 block of N. Quaker Lane. It happened around 5:45am. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

WATCH: Governor Northam Gives State of Commonwealth Speech — “My 2021 State of the Commonwealth address is starting–watch live.” [Twitter]

Poll Opens to Select New Names for T.C. Williams High and Matthew Maury Elementary Schools — “Between now and Jan. 27, we are asking everyone to help us whittle down names that have been suggested by our students over the last month. Don’t like any of the options you see? The community will also be given another chance to make suggestions at this time.” [Zebra]

Casa Chirilagua Gets Desk Donations from Building Momentum — “Casa Chirilagua, a non-profit serving the Arlandria neighborhood in northern Virginia near Reagan National Airport, has been one of the largest recipients and distributors of the desks. Adriana Gómez Schellhaas, executive director of Casa Chirilagua, said the non-profit has distributed over 50 desks to homes and learning centers in their community.” [USChamber.com]

Today’s Weather — “Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High near 55F. Winds light and variable… A few clouds from time to time in the evening. Low 31F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Experienced Servers at Mia’s Italian Kitchen — “We are searching for Experienced Servers to join our Team at Mia’s in OLD TOWN” [Indeed]

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Three Alexandria children are safe after being left home alone in “deplorable conditions,” according to police.

Charges are pending against the mother of the children, a woman in her 20s, who was described by the children’s grandmother as suffering from mental issues and being off her medication, according to a search warrant affidavit.

On Nov. 16, Alexandria Police met the grandmother at the children’s home in the 600 block of N. Pelham Street, which is near Holmes Run in the West End. Inside, police found the children — ages six, four and three — in “deplorable conditions,” according to the affidavit.

“There were piles of clothes strewn all over the house to include the floors and furniture,” police said in the affidavit. “There were empty food containers and food all over the house. It appeared as if they used the floor as a trash can. This was consistent throughout the home.”

Officers found the six-year-old hiding behind a couch with a small plate of pancakes she had just made in the microwave. The child told police that she slept on the couch in the living room, and that “mommy smokes weed with men in the basement,” according to the affidavit.

Minutes later, police witnessed the four and three-year-old children playing with long serrated knives from the kitchen. They also found a bedroom that reeked of urine.

The grandmother called police after finding the children home alone. She reported that the last time she’d spoken with her daughter was three days before to give her groceries.

“The groceries provided to the (mother) were still in the bags to include the fresh meat and milk,” police reported in the affidavit. “There were several bags that appeared to have been rummaged through by the children, possibly looking for food.”

A next door neighbor then called the mother and told them that police were at her house. The neighbor told police that the children are often left unattended, and that once the eldest child asked to use the neighbor’s phone at 1:30 a.m. to call her mother.

The mother arrived home shortly thereafter and told police that she’d gone to buy groceries at the nearby Giant on Little River Turnpike.

“They were asleep,” the mother reportedly told police when asked why her children were left alone. She refused to say how long she had been away.

Child Protective Services then arrived and made arrangements with other family members to take care of the children during the investigation, according to the affidavit.

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A 32-year-old Alexandria man faces 10 years behind bars for allegedly possessing child pornography from 2016 to 2018.

Sean Michael McLaughlin, a registered nurse at Virginia Hospital Center at the time of his arrest last October, was convicted in federal court of child porn possession on September 11. According to court records, McLaughlin downloaded videos with prepubescent children “engaging in sexual activity” and being restrained with bondage and being sexually assaulted by adults.

“McLaughlin admitted to repeatedly searching for, downloading, viewing, and possessing child pornography,” according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia’s office.

The videos were downloaded on the eDonkey2000 peer-to-peer network, according to a search warrant affidavit. The first videos were downloaded in 2017 from McLaughlin’s mother’s house, according to the affidavit.

“McLaughlin stated that after he downloads the material he deletes the files and then uninstalls the program,” the affidavit noted. “McLaughlin estimated that he had downloaded 50 videos that contained child sexual exploitation material in the past year.”

McLaughlin will be sentenced on January 20, 2021.

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Morning Notes

Today’s the First Day of School for ACPS — “Let’s focus on getting connected this week! Make sure you have access to technology and have completed your back-to-school forms.” [ACPS]

West End Development Could Add Hundreds of Affordable Housing Units — “Wesley Housing is requesting a pre-development loan of $400,000 to start the development process on ParcView II, a new affordable rental project on Holmes Run Parkway in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living]

Child Abuse Reports Go Down 40% — “Typically, Alexandria Child Protective Services receives more case reports in the spring than any other time of the year. However, this spring reports were down 40 percent from the average in recent years.” [Alexandria Living]

Gong Meditation Today in Del Ray — “Join us each Tuesday from 6-7pm, September 1 through October 20. Relax and support your body, mind and spirit through sound, yoga and meditation. Take a break from today’s hectic and stressful environment and see how you can benefit from sound therapy.” [Facebook]

Volunteers Needed for Food Distribution This Thursday — “Help serve meals and groceries this Thursday, September 10 at the Charles Houston Recreation Center. A project from the Washington Street UMC, ALIVE!, ARHA, and Charles Houston Recreation Center – this event generally serves more than 150 families!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Drive-In Shows ‘Back To The Future’ —  “Remembering you have one of the sold out spots for Back to the Future this Saturday …  ” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, mainly sunny. High 88F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. At night, partly to mostly cloudy. Low 69F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Keyholder at FatFace — “Our Alexandria store is looking for a passionate supervisor to lead the team and establish the brand in the local area.” [Indeed]

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A 53-year-old Alexandria man was arrested today on charges of producing and distributing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Abel Ambrocio was arrested for allegedly instructing an adult woman on Facebook to send him more than 100 pictures of the woman sexually exploiting a three-year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl. He then allegedly sent the photos to another person, and the activities occurred over the course of several months, according to court documents.

Ambrocio faces up to between 15 and 50 years in prison if found guilty, although actual sentences for federal crimes are “typically less than the maximum penalties,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia press release.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Southern Towers Residents Prepared to Strike Over Rent — “Their goal is 1,000 signatures from the 2,300 total units. They want management to cancel rent until one month after the pandemic ends, address safety and cleaning concerns, and create a sliding scale for future rent payments based on income.” [WAMU]

Less Than Half of Alexandrians Will Get Full Stimulus Checks — “SmartAsset estimates that full stimulus check would go to just 49.57% of households in the City of Alexandria, and 65.92% would get some level of stimulus check. The full check of $1,200 would be sent to individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of up to $75,000 and a reduced benefit would be sent to individuals earning up to $99,000, at which point it phases out completely.” [Alexandria Living]

Market 2 Market Del Ray Caters Food Gifted to Alexandria Hospital — “We had the wonderful opportunity to partner with Cafe Pizzaiolo and Market 2 Market Del Ray and our friends Trinchero Family Estates and to provide dinner for the teams working around the clock at Inova Alexandria Hospital this afternoon!” [Facebook]

The Chamber’s Virtual Professional Women’s Network Mixer is Tonight — “We can all agree that these are unprecedented times we are experiencing now, and connections are now more important than ever so please make plans to join us on Thursday, April 9th for a slightly different version of our wildly popular Professional Women’s Network Coffee & Connections.” [Chamber of Commerce]

Del Ray Farmers’ Market Canceled This Weekend — “There is no market at 4 Mile Run this weekend, but Tom (and our other vendors) will be at the #delrayfarmersmarket on Saturday so you can pick up your pre-orders!” [Facebook]

Virtual Mindfulness Workshop Tonight — “Stress is an inevitable part of life. Join Dr. Eng for an 8-week course where you will learn about the stress response in your body, stress management techniques, coping strategies, and mindfulness-based relaxation training.” [Facebook]

Old Town Books Hosting Virtual Writing Classes and Literacy Series — Kicking off on Friday, April 10, Old Town Books will launch writing classes and a virtual literacy series featuring accomplished authors. The pay-what-you-can programs include participation by authors Jenny Offill, Jessica Lahey and New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon. [Old Town Books]

Safeway Updates Social Distancing Rules — “Stores will limit occupancy levels to one person per 150 square feet during normal business hours and one person per 300 square feet during special hours reserved for seniors and other vulnerable customers. Each store will utilize one front entrance/exit to ensure enforcement and a store associate will be assigned to the doors to manage traffic.’ [WUSA9]

Center For Alexandria’s Children Recognizes Child Abuse Prevention Month — “Raise awareness and show your support for Child Abuse Prevention Month while enjoying family time together. Download and print the board and play #PinwheelBingo with us! Continue to check back on our social media platforms throughout April for more family-friendly activities to do at home. Together we are stronger! Let’s all do our parts to protect the children in our communities. [Facebook]

The Dog Park in Old Town is Open — “Easter is coming…so don’t furget your doggy! We carry a full line of Easter toys, treats and wearables. We will be featuring a new item everyday for you to enjoy. We are open everyday M-S 10-6 and Sunday 11-5. We offer curbside pickup and contactless home delivery too!” [Facebook]

Fat Face Opening This Summer in Old Town — “It all began in 1988 with two guys enjoying life on the slopes in the French Alps and desperately trying to avoid working for a living. With money running out, they hatched a plan: print some sweatshirts and t-shirts, sell them at night, and ski during the day. With that simple formula, the FatFace brand was born with the name even being inspired by their favourite black mountain run in Val d’Isère, La Face.” [Alexandria Living]

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Morning Notes

Police Shooter Bashir Takes Insanity Defense for Alleged Stalking/Arson — “[Kashif] Bashir is charged with felony counts of arson, attempted arson, and making a false statement on a consent form to purchase a firearm, as well as nine counts of misdemeanor stalking, unauthorized use of an electronic tracking device, and possession of a firearm by a person acquitted by reason of insanity.” [WTOP]

Residents Cope With Cabin Fever — “Next week puts a little more pressure on me, because when my kids don’t have structure, then they do a lot of fighting.” [Alex Times]

Del Ray Restaurant Status Update — Among the closed restaurants are Los Tios Grill, Nectar Coffee and Wine Bistro, The Garden, and Live Oak Restaurant. Here’s a list of local eateries that are open for carryout and delivery. [Facebook]

Visit Alexandria Provides Updated Citywide Eatery List — “In case you need a quick reference, here’s a list of Alexandria restaurants open for takeout, curbside pickup, or delivery. For details, go to ALXatHome.com.” [Twitter]

ICYMI: Torpedo Factory Art Center Closed Until Mid May — “Hoping everyone is staying safe and healthy during this time. The Torpedo Factory will be closed till mid May. Please visit our artists through their fb pages, Instagram and websites.” [Facebook]

Bag Tax Bills on Bubble as General Assembly Revisits Budget — “Legislators are currently concerned with the immediate threat of the Coronavirus, its impact on Virginians and on the state budget. The implementation of the bills could take a back seat, for now, to the more immediate healthcare and economic problems stemming from the crisis.” [Gazette]

SCAN of Northern Virginia Gets Grant to Combat Child Abuse — “Unfortunately, we anticipate that incidences of child abuse and neglect will skyrocket because of the COVID-19 epidemic… But we have an opportunity this month–during National Child Abuse Prevention Month–to make sure our community is aware of this threat and empowered to protect children and support parents when they need it most.” [Zebra]

Alexandria Times Raises $975 in FOIA Fund — “During the first quarter of 2020, eight people donated a total of $975 to the Alexandria Times FOIA Fund. The Times made three FOIA requests of the City of Alexandria in the first quarter of 2020.” [Alex Times]

Center for Alexandria’s Children Recognizes ‘National Go Blue Day’ — “Don’t forget to #WearBlue for Child Abuse Prevention Month — and please post your photos and tag The Center for Alexandria’s Children, Inc. Raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention by showing your BLUE all over social media!” [Facebook]

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A 59-year-old Alexandria man has been arrested and is in a North Carolina jail for alleged sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl.

John DiGeronimo, an electrical engineer who worked at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is accused of dropping off packets of pornography — depicting the the 16-year-old engaging in sexual activity with a much older man in front of her high school — in front of her house and in front of her boyfriend’s house.

The packets were delivered on Feb. 28, and include handwritten links to a web page with more illicit images of the victim, according to police.

Additionally, DiGeronimo has been accused of breaking into the girl’s house and stealing gifts that he allegedly gave her.

DiGeronimo was arrested at home in the Landmark area on March 6, and the following day was transported to jail in York County, South Carolina. He has been charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor and burglary.

“[T]he suspect in this case recorded and manufactured images/videos of he and the victim engaged in sexual activity at the victim’s residence,” according to the Alexandria police search warrant affidavit. “When outside the residence, the suspect would provide a tent for cover and would cover the tent with a tarp to prevent light from escaping.”

The victim told police that she knew the suspect as “George Smith,” that they met on Snapchat, began having a sexual relationship in 2018, and that they broke up this past January, according to documents. The suspect also allegedly bought the girl a number of gifts, including sex toys and jewelry, and is accused of filming their activities with his cell phone.

Police, after interviewing the victim, went to collect evidence at her house and found that it had been robbed.

“It was discovered at the time that someone had entered the residence and removed all of the items gifted to the victim with the exception of one of the necklaces,” notes the search warrant affidavit. “Victim advised the only other person who knew where the items were as the George Smith suspect. She was able to find one of the necklaces, which was left in her bathroom and appeared to match a necklace observed in one of the images.”

Police located DiGeronimo by linking the IP address for the Snapchat user George Smith. According to police, a search of DiGeronimo’s apartment yielded a bag with sex items, ziplock baggies with hair labeled in the name of the victim, letters and cards, journal entries, photos and notes.

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