District Physician’s Assistant Arraigned on Two Counts of Second Degree Sexual Abuse of a Patient or Client

District Physician’s Assistant Arraigned on Two Counts of Second Degree Sexual Abuse of a Patient or Client

Defendant Accused of Sexually Assaulting Two Patients During Physical Exams

            WASHINGTON – Haileleoul Erbello (Desta), 47, of Laurel, Maryland, was arraigned today on six counts of second degree sexual abuse of a patient or client arising from events that occurred in August of 2019 and April of 2021, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves and Interim Chief Ashan Benedict of the Metropolitan Police Department.

            On May 17, 2023, Erbello was indicted by a grand jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on six counts of second degree sexual abuse of a patient or client.  He faces a maximum of five years in prison on each count if convicted.

             According to the government’s evidence, between August of 2019 and April of 2021, the defendant was working at Metro Lab clinic in Washington, D.C.  On or about August 20, 2019, he was performing a physical exam on a patient to certify her eligibility for employment when he groped her breasts, pressed his chest up against her breasts, and pressed his genitalia up against her arm. The indictment also charges that Erbello sexually abused a second patient on or about April 10, 2021. He was, again, performing a physical exam to certify a patient’s employment eligibility when he pressed his groin up against the patient’s buttocks, groped her breasts, and touched her buttocks with his hand. 

            An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

            In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Graves and Chief Benedict commended the work of those investigating the case from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit.  They acknowledged the efforts of those who are working on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Investigative Analyst Durand Odom; Victim/Witness Advocate Lezlie Richardson; and Paralegal Specialists Cynthia Muhammad and ReShawn Johnson. Finally, they commended the work of former Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Buckner, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie Thompson, who is investigating and prosecuting the case.

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