Appeals court overturns conviction of ‘Georgetown Cuddler’

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The D.C. Court of Appeals has overturned the 2010 conviction of a man who was accused of burglarizing the homes of six Georgetown University students and fondling several of his victims.

A three-judge panel ruled Thursday that Todd M. Thomas, who was dubbed the “Georgetown Cuddler,” is entitled to a new trial because the D.C. Superior Court judge who presided over his 2010 conviction erred by allowing jurors to hear evidence that Thomas had a prior sexual assault conviction in Virginia.

In the 2010 D.C. case, Thomas was convicted on five counts of first-degree burglary, one count of second-degree burglary, two counts of assault and one-count of fourth-degree sexual abuse. He was accused in one case of fondling a male victim’s genitals as he slept and was on two other occasions accused of massaging sleeping victims.

During the trial, jurors heard testimony from a man who accused Thomas of sexual assaulting him as he slept in Virginia in 2008. In that case, Thomas pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery.

Senior Appeals Court Judge Warren R. King wrote in Thursday’s opinion that the testimony should not have been admissible, because evidence of previous crimes cannot be used to prove that a defendant has the disposition to commit a similar crime for which they are currently charged.

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