Man Charged in String of Suburban Sexual Attacks

He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    8/4/14: A man accused in a string of sexual attacks in south suburban Chicago has reportedly been charged. Susan Carlson reports.

    A Steger man was charged in connection with six sexual attacks in south suburban Park Forest and Richton Park, police said Monday.

    Monroe Akins, 37, was held on $750,000 bail on sexual abuse charges in attacks that took place between March and June. Akins is suspected in three other attacks in nearby areas, police said.

    The first reported incident occurred around 6:30 p.m. March 18 when a 16-year-old girl was attacked while walking home from school through Winnebago Park in Park Forest. Police said the man held a knife to the teen and sexually abused her.

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    Two days later, a man with a similar description approached a 17-year-old girl on Westgate Drive in Park Forest -- fewer than two blocks from Winnebago Park. The man "felt her body over her clothing," police said at the time.

    A third teen was approached while on her way home from school March 31 on Sangamon Street at Shabbona Drive in Park Forest, police said. The Park Forest Police Department received a call at about 5:40 p.m. Monday about a man who ran up to the teen and fondled her before running off.

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    In April, Park Forest, Matteson and Richton Park police departments issued a joint community alert surrounding seeral attacks, some of which prosecutors have reportedly alleged involved Akins.

    Police said another woman was attacked April 22 while walking to the Richton Park Metra Station.

    On June 3, a 24-year-old woman was reportedly approached while walking home from the same Metra station. The man repeatedly asked for her phone number, followed her for several blocks and grabbed her.

    A few weeks later, an 18-year-old woman was approached while walking her dog in the 300 block of South Gettysburg Street in Park Forest. Police said the woman was approached by a man who walked up behind her, hugged her, and kissed her neck.

    The man then grabbed the woman’s chest and said he had a weapon, police said.

    “He told me ‘don’t fight,’ he had a gun,” the teen told NBC Chicago after the attack. “I started yelling to see if anyone would help me and he finally ran off.”

    Each of the six victims identified Akins in a physical lineup, the Tribune reports.

    He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.