Residents Call for More Lighting in Wake of Sex Assault

A 24-year-old woman told police she was attacked while walking near a northwest side CTA station on Monday night

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police are searching for the man who sexually assaulted a 24-year-old woman as she walked from a Northwest side Blue Line station in the city’s Mayfair neighborhood on Monday night. Christian Farr reports.

    Residents were calling for more lighting and the Guardian Angels were planning escorts in the wake of an attempted sexual assault Monday night in the northwest side Mayfair neighborhood.

    Resident Sharon Murphy says she's walked the path through the small park in the 4500 block of Agatite Avenue for seven years and recalls hearing several stories of women being attacked in the area.

    She nearly became a victim herself once but now says she carries pepper spray.

    "I have had somebody come up from behind me and I have gotten nervous," she said. "I don't know who they were but I let them know I knew they were behind me."

    In Monday's attack, the 24-year-old victim told police she was walking in the area just after 9 p.m. when a Hispanic or dark-skinned white man grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the ground from behind.

    Police said the man then tried to disrobe and touch the woman, but stopped when she screamed.
    Instead, the attacker punched her in the face and ran away, said police officer Hector Alfaro.

    The woman then fled to the Chicago Transit Authority's Monstrose station on the Blue Line. That's where officers found her, police said.

    The woman was taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital where she was treated for minor lacerations to her face and knees, police said.

    The assault was under investigation as a case of criminal sexual abuse, said Alfaro. The description released of the attacker by authorities was that he stood between 5 feet, 9 inches and 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed between 140 and 160 pounds. He had short black hair and was wearing an orange hooded sweatshirt at the time of the attack.

    At least one volunteer from the Mayfair Civic Association was out Tuesday evening trying to make the path less condusive to sneak attacks. He's chopped by shubbery that last night was spilling onto the dark pathway, and he's echoing calls for more lighting.

    "She was hidden. She couldn't see nothing, and a lot of times they walk through here," said Walter Eliasen. "We've been trying to get lights for two to three years here."

    Another neighbor, Cindy Kramer, said there's been talk about turning the small park into something that would get more pedestrian traffic.

    Ald. John Arena (45th) said he's taking in all of the residents' concerns and plans to make his ward safer.

    "We're horrified. So when something like this happens we take it seriously," he said.

    Monday's attack took place about a mile-and-a-half from a sexual assault early Sunday that also remains under investigation.

    During that attack, an unidentified male climbed through a window in the 4800 block of North Ridgeway Avenue and sexually assaulted a girl while she was asleep in her bed between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., according to an alert issued by police. The suspect may be Hispanic, police said.

    No one was in custody for either attack as Area North detectives were investigating.

    The Guardian Angels planned to have escorts available on Wednesday for commuters using the CTA station.