After initially declining to take on the case, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office on Wednesday charged a Delaware County man with the indecent assault of a fellow delegate at the Democratic National Convention.
Walter Weeks, 74, of Garnet Valley, turned himself in to the police Special Victims Unit around 4 p.m. Wednesday. He was charged with a second-degree misdemeanor of indecent assault.
His accuser, Gwen Snyder, contended that Philadelphia authorities had been dismissive of her claim. When prosecutors first passed on the case last month, Snyder circulated a petition calling for charges and received the support of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Snyder told police she was assaulted by Weeks in the bar at the DoubleTree hotel, 237 S. Broad St., around 2 a.m. July 27.
In a statement Wednesday, the District Attorney's Office said its initial decision to not prosecute was based on "an incomplete investigation."
"But, after further investigation by the [office] including a review of additional video and eyewitness testimony," a decision was made to charge Weeks, prosecutors said in a statement.
Michael J. Engle, a Philadelphia attorney representing Weeks, issued a statement Wednesday night saying, "Mr. Weeks maintains his innocence in the face of this accusation, which was clearly rejected by the Philadelphia police and the District Attorney's Office. Political and media pressure placed on the D.A. is the sole reason there is any case against Walter Weeks at this time."
In an interview Wednesday, Snyder, 30, of West Philadelphia, said she was "really gratified that we finally got them to prosecute."
Snyder said she learned of the decision during a meeting with prosecutors Monday. During that meeting, she said, she reviewed the surveillance video that had been recovered by investigators.
"It's very clear. It's clear what's happening. It's clear I'm upset," Snyder said.
Snyder alleged that Weeks was visibly drunk and told her that she looked like she needed a hug. When she reluctantly agreed, Weeks allegedly pulled her into a bear hug, buried his head in her chest, and licked her breasts.
Snyder said she pushed him off and went to her room. She reported the incident to police later that morning. Snyder said she notified Democratic Party officials soon after the incident and wanted to know how to get Weeks' credentials pulled.
She said there was no process in place, and Weeks remained a delegate during the convention. Her "next step is to push the DNC to enact a sexual-assault policy."
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