For six months in 2011, a criminal the press dubbed the "Butt Slasher" menaced northern Virginia. The facts about the Virginia Butt Slasher were similar in each reported assault. While shopping, a woman would come across a man trying to pick up some clothes. Once they offered to help, they would bend over and feel a pinch on their back sides. Assuming the pain came from a poke from a hanger, they would look up to find the man gone and upon further inspection discover a gash on their behinds. After being caught in Peru more than a year later, Johnny Pimentel's actions remained without a confirmed motive. Yet authorities speculated his strange assaults - which earned him seven years in prison - stemmed from a rare sexual disorder.
Police Warned Women To Check Their Surroundings - And Butts
In 2011, the unknown "Butt Slasher" was targeting women in Fairfax County, VA. According to an email written to the podcast My Favorite Murder, local citizens were warned to "basically keep track of their [behinds]" while shopping. Fairfax County Police spokesperson Lucy Caldwell urged women in the area to "pay close attention to surroundings" and to contact police or mall security if they felt they were being followed.
The police also recommended that women not to go shopping alone.
The First Victim Was Actually Pregnant When Slashed
On Valentine's Day 2011, 40-year-old Johnny Pimentel marked his first known victim in the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax County, VA. The 20-year-old was pregnant when Pimentel grazed her as he passed by, tearing her leggings. Pimentel blamed the mishap on his bag, claiming it snagged her clothes. After he was gone, the woman realized that there was blood on her hand. Closer inspection of her wound revealed a three-inch slice, which authorities later determined was likely made by an X-Acto knife.
The woman "started freaking out" and reported what happened to police, but the incident wasn't publicly shared until more victims surfaced.
The Offenses Followed A Similar Pattern
Pimentel set up the same scenario for most of his victims. The Butt Slasher would knock clothes or other items onto the floor of a department store and pretend to clean up the mess. The women would then offer to help him pick things up, turn their backs to him, and then feel a sharp pain in their behinds, which they attributed to clothes hangers poking them. The superficial wounds went unnoticed until the victims saw the blood.
The first victim was the only one to report a different pattern during the six-month spree. Pimentel brushed past her and pierced her buttocks as she carried her purchases. She shouted at him as he walked away, thinking that he had only cut her leggings. This could indicate that Pimentel developed his pattern to avoid attention.
Pimentel May Suffer From An Uncommon Sexual Disorder
During the course of the hearing, Pimentel expressed regret. He also appealed for forgiveness from his victims. He never provided a motive or any sort of reasoning for the nine assaults committed over a six-month period in 2011. His lawyers admitted that they had no idea what had spurred his actions either, referring to the situation only as "bizarre and terrible."
One person to offer a potential explanation was former FBI profiler Gregg McCrary. He suspected that Pimentel suffered from a sexual disorder known as piquerism, saying:
The offender probably derives sexual gratification from slashing or pricking or piercing women in sexually significant areas of their body. He isn't just going up and indiscriminately slashing women in their face ... back or arms, where someone could say he's just perpetually angry at women. He's targeting a sexually significant [body] area.