Chicago police released sex assault suspect sketch last week
CHICAGO — Community activists gathered at Rainbow Beach Sunday morning to distribute fliers with sketches of a man who is alleged to have assaulted a 4-year-old child at the beach’s washrooms Tuesday afternoon.
“I want to send a message out to the parents of Chicago, never allow your child to go to a public bathroom in the city of Chicago,” said Tio Hardiman, executive director of Violence Interrupters. “It’s something out of a horror movie. … You never know what’s lurking inside these bathrooms.”
Hardiman was joined by Andre Smith, CEO of Chicago Against Violence. The two directed their words at Mayor Brandon Johnson and the city, demanding cameras be installed at the beach’s bathroom facilities “just as they are up north” in the event something like this were to happen again.
“Chicago is camera city. How can we not have cameras at this beach to protect our most precious, our pride and joy, who are supposed to be out here enjoying themselves?” Smith said.
“If there were cameras here, we’d at least have a photograph or some video of the alleged individual coming out of the bathroom here,” Hardiman added.
Smith said he believes the sketch of the man alleged to have committed the assault Tuesday looked “identical” to the sketch of a man alleged to have sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl who was walking home from school in Washington Park last November.
Along with a series of robocalls, the two said they expect to have volunteers handing out and hanging up posters with the police sketch of the man around the beach to raise awareness.
“A lot of people don’t know what happened,” Smith said.
The groups offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the alleged offender, though they urged other groups to join in and add funds to the reward.
“Somebody probably saw this guy, somebody knows this guy, he’s a family member of someone in Chicago,” Hardiman said. “Someone needs to step up and do the right thing.”
The group also pushed for opening mental health facilities and renovations to the bathrooms, which Smith described as “worse than jail institution washrooms.”
“Parents, citywide, watch your children,” Hardiman said. “To be aware is to be alive. … You can’t take anything for granted.”
The Chicago Park District couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire – Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2023.)