During the months of March through June of this year, south suburban areas of Chicago experienced a rash of sexual assaults. Six separate incidences involving groping and similar sexual attacks were reported across the Richton Park and Park Forest area. Now, police have charged a Steger man in connection with the assaults and believe he may be responsible for three other attacks.
After being identified in a lineup by all six of the victims, police arrested the 37-year-old man on sexual abuse charges. He is currently incarcerated on a $750,000 bail and was scheduled for a court appearance on August 5.
Each of the six incidents involves a man approaching a young woman, some of them as young as 16-years-old, and groping or fondling them. In a few cases, the women reported being threatened with a knife or gun during the incident. Some of the women say the man followed them and spoke to them.
In April, the Richton Park, Matteson and Park Forest police departments released a community alert regarding the attacks that prosecutors allegedly believe involved the 37-year-old man. The locations of the six attacks include Winnebago Park, Westgate Drive, Sangamon Street at Shabbona Drive, the Richton Park Metra Station area and South Gettysburg Street.
Young women in the area are likely breathing a sigh of relief over the arrest of the Steger man. However, it's important not to become complacent about personal safety when traveling alone through the city. Those who have been victimized by sexual assault or abuse should know that the law allows ample opportunity for victims to file an assault claim, even if the event occurred in the past.
Source: NBC 5 Chicago, "Man Charged in String of Suburban Sexual Attacks" Aug. 04, 2014