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D.C. police have named the student charged with attempted sex abuse and burglary in 2022 Leonard Hall incident, newly obtained court documents show

Technology was central to identifying the suspect

Editor’s note: The Eagle’s monthslong investigation into AU’s handling of the Oct. 31, 2022, Leonard Hall sexual abuse and burglary incident is still ongoing. If you have information about the case, please email or contact us on Signal.

This story contains descriptions of sexual abuse and may be upsetting to some readers. Please see the bottom of this story for additional resources.

Court documents obtained Monday name David Kramer-Fried as the American University student charged with attempted sexual abuse and burglary in the Oct. 31, 2022, incident in Leonard Hall.

Police relied heavily on technology to gather evidence in the case which, they say, allowed them to track Kramer-Fried as he moved through Leonard and McDowell Halls, which are connected by a footbridge, according to a police detective’s affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court in December. The suspect was a resident of McDowell Hall, but previously had been a Leonard Hall resident.

On Monday, The Eagle obtained about 80 pages of court filings, including the affidavit, in an ongoing Eagle investigation of the University’s handling of the unauthorized entry, sexual abuse and burglary in Leonard Hall. The details of the case have not been reported before.

The affidavit, called a Gerstein affidavit for the 1975 Supreme Court case Gerstein v. Pugh, is a sworn statement by Metropolitan Police Department Detective Eric D. Johnson establishing probable cause for arresting and charging Kramer-Fried.

Kramer-Fried, 21, of West Newton, Massachusetts, has been charged with an attempt to commit fourth-degree sexual abuse and two counts of first-degree burglary.

The affidavit and criminal complaint allege that Kramer-Fried entered two rooms on the all-female eighth floor of Leonard Hall without permission from the residents. The burglary charges include entering one room with the intent to assault and entering the other with the intent to commit theft.

A burglary charge includes unauthorized entry but does not require the perpetrator to have broken a lock or window, though breaking and entering can qualify as burglary.

The documents did not say how Kramer-Fried entered the rooms. In one room, both residents were asleep when he entered, according to police. In the other, the survivor’s roommate was taking a shower down the hall.

Two women are referred to in the court filings as victims. The Eagle will refer to them as survivors.

According to the documents, a witness saw a man fitting Kramer-Fried’s description — wearing a dark red hoodie and black sweatpants — outside the first survivor’s room around 2 a.m. She also told police that the door to the other survivor’s room, across the hall from her own, was open.

The documents allege Kramer-Fried “attempted to engage in sexual contact” with one student while she was asleep and therefore was “incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct, incapable of declining participation in that sexual contact, or was incapable of communicating unwillingness to engage in that sexual act.” They allege he stole two pairs of underwear — one black and one red — from the other room.

Police searched Kramer-Fried’s McDowell Hall room Dec. 9, 2022, according to the search warrant, and found a pair of black underwear — identical in color and brand to one reported stolen — in the front pocket of the hoodie that security footage showed he wore that night.

In a campus-wide email sent Nov. 10, 2023, the University said a person of interest was previously removed from campus in connection with the police investigation, but declined to say when the person was removed.

Kramer-Fried’s arrest on Dec. 7, 2023 was announced by AU President Sylvia Burwell in a Jan. 19 email. The University waited until students returned for the Spring semester “to share this news when the community returned in full.”

The messages did not name Kramer-Fried, but said that the individual who was arrested “is prohibited permanently from being part of the AU community in any way.” The court documents did not name any co-defendants.

The arrest warrant for Kramer-Fried was issued Nov. 14, 2023 — three weeks before he was taken into custody.

On the day of his arrest, a D.C. Superior Court judge ordered Kramer-Fried to stay away from the survivors, the witnesses and the District of Columbia. He was released from custody that day, Dec. 7, the order said.

He was released pretrial without bail and is required to check in by phone twice a week with the D.C. Pretrial Services Agency, according to court papers. The stay-away order also barred him from entering “the dorm room of any female.”

It was not clear in the court documents when Kramer-Fried left D.C. or AU. A University spokesperson acknowledged The Eagle’s request for comment but said they could not provide a response in time for publication. The D.C. public defender representing Kramer-Fried did not respond to two requests for information.

Kramer-Fried, a sophomore at the time of the incident, lived on the fifth floor of Leonard Hall his freshman year, the affidavit said.

Security footage recorded him walking across the footbridge at 12:28 a.m. to the third floor of Leonard, then running across the footbridge back to the second floor of McDowell at 2:58 a.m.

When interviewed by Johnson on Dec. 9, 2022, Kramer-Fried confirmed that he went to Leonard Oct. 31, but didn’t explain why and said that he didn’t know anyone living in Leonard.

Johnson wrote in the affidavit that Kramer-Fried “was also asked why he was inside of Leonard Hall and he consistently replied by stating, ‘I don’t know.’”

The court documents said Kramer-Fried is between 5 feet, 6 inches and 5 feet, 7 inches tall. Initially, a survivor told AU staff the person in her room was 6 feet tall. The other survivor described the man as a “very tall person,” the affidavit said.

Academic research has found that the likelihood of eyewitnesses estimating a perpetrator’s height with high accuracy varies widely. For adults between 18 and 44 years old, the likelihood of high accuracy at a distance of 5 meters was about 36 percent, one psychological experiment found.

The day of the incident, MPD’s crime scene unit collected DNA samples from door handles in the rooms and one survivor’s clothing. Johnson wrote in the affidavit that a forensic biology report found all four samples came from a mixture of individuals, but three contained DNA from “at least one male contributor.”

Johnson said one survivor and her roommate had “started their own investigation” in the aftermath of the incidents. On Instagram, they focused on a different student, a resident of the seventh floor of Leonard, who the survivor thought was the man who entered her room the night of Oct. 31, 2022.

Johnson said that AU Police Department investigators checked electronic records and security footage but “all checks have yielded negative results” for the student the survivor initially identified. In the affidavit, Johnson said the student “is NOT the subject of this arrest warrant affidavit, Mr. David Kramer-Fried.”

Kramer-Fried has not been scheduled to appear in court since the day of his arrest. His preliminary hearing has been rescheduled three times, and he is set to appear on May 24 at the D.C. Superior Court.

Students who have experienced sexual assault or harassment can seek support through confidential resources such as the University’s Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services, the Student Health Center, the Kay Spiritual Life Center or the following hotlines:

  • Collegiate Assistance Program: 1-855-678-8679
  • Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network (RAINN) anonymous chat
  • RAINN hotline: 1-800-656-4673
  • DC Rape Crisis Center: 202-333-7273

Non-confidential resources include the University’s Title IX Office and AUPD.

Correction: A previous version of this story said it was unclear whether Kramer-Fried was still enrolled at AU. The article has been updated to include a Jan. 19 statement from the University saying the person arrested is banned from the AU community, though the statement did not name Kramer-Fried.

This article was edited by Walker Whalen, Abigail Turner and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks.

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