Man charged with sexually assaulting student at Chantilly High School

A man is facing charges after he allegedly walked into Chantilly High School in Virginia and sexually assaulted a student there on Sept. 27 — and Fairfax County police are looking at the possibility of other victims.

Galata Bekele Bengessa, 22, has been charged with abduction by force, sexual battery and trespassing on school property, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. The investigation has revealed two additional possible victims who reported similar incidents involving Bekele Bengessa that occurred off school property.

On the morning of Sept. 27, police said Bekele Bengessa, who was wearing a mask, entered Chantilly High School with students. He approached the female victim, who said she believed he was another student. According to police, Bekele Bengessa started a conversation with the girl and then unlawfully touched her.

Police said she was able to get away when other students approached and contacted her mother, who called police.

Officers then searched the area around the school and found Bekele Bengessa on foot near Route 50 and the Fairfax County Parkway. During the arrest, he made statements that led officers to be concerned about his well being, so he was taken to a hospital for treatment.

On Wednesday, when Fairfax County police learned that Bekele Bengessa had been released and was back at home, they arrested him for the Sept. 27 incident and took him to an adult detention center.

Police are asking for anyone with information on the incident or who may have had inappropriate contact with the suspect to call the Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 3.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text — type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411 — or online by clicking here.

Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 if their information leads to an arrest.

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

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