Rape Victim Says Chicago Police Had Attacker in Custody Then Let Him Go

Six months after Nikki Saez told police she was raped and beaten, Chicago police arrested the man she said assaulted her – and then let him go.

Saez claimed she was repeatedly raped by L.B. Joseph in March of 2012. Six months later, on September 26, 2012, Chicago police apprehended L.B. Joseph on suspicion of a different rape.

He was found in a van, according to police documents, with his trousers around his thighs. His brother, Leondo Joseph, was naked and with a 50-year old woman.

The woman, who told police she had been abducted and raped, ultimately decided not to cooperate and police released the Joseph brothers.

“How is it that a man that is wanted for rape, in questioning for rape, and gets picked up for another rape is let free?” said Michelle Ford, the mother of Nikki Saez when shown the documents of how L.B. Joseph was in police custody and then released. “I don’t understand it.”

On March 24, 2012, Saez told police she had been repeatedly raped and beaten by L.B. Joseph after they agreed to meet at a Northwest Side bar.

“I was in so much pain it was physically exhausting,” said Saez, who was 24 years old at the time and worked at Walter Payton High School.

Saez, who earned a Criminal Justice degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., called 911 and police responded.
Saez, according to the police report, said her assailant went by the name “Bone” and gave police the cell phone number she had for him.

Three days later she said police showed her L.B. Joseph’s mug shot.

“They didn’t even bring me a picture line up,” she said. “It was one picture of him. They knew who he was.”

As time went on Saez said she repeatedly called police asking about the case but Joseph remained at large.

Then in September 2012, L.B. Joseph and his brother Leondo were stopped in the 3100 block of West 48th Place and found with a 50-year old woman in their van, according to a police report.

Police knew Joseph’s name, read him his Miranda rights and took him to the 8th District, according to the documents, where he and his brother said they paid for the sex.

When the 50-year old declined to pursue charges police “released without charging” L.B. Joseph, even though Nikki Saez said months earlier she had positively identified him.

On October 18, 2012, police arrested L.B. Joseph again, this time in connection with the case of Nikki Saez.

A police spokesman said the delay in making the arrest was due to “false information” they had regarding Joseph.

In December NBC Chicago reported the Cook County State’s Attorney later declined to prosecute Joseph for raping Nikki Saez, citing reasonable doubt. In a bench trial he was found not guilty of battery, enraging rape victim activists.

“I think that for whatever reason they felt like she wasn’t credible as a victim of sexual assault and we strongly, strongly disagree,” said Sharmilli Majmudar, executive director of Rape Victims Advocates. “I do feel like we continue to hear cases like Nikki’s where what happened through the criminal justice system was not in keeping with what the victims said happened to them or really honoring what their experience was.”

In September 2014 the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office charged the Joseph brothers with the rape of six other women, including the 50-year old who was found in the van.

Nikki Saez’s mother was in court for their most recent status hearing. Both brothers have entered pleas of not guilty and declined a request to be interviewed.

“My daughter may have not got justice but these other women will and I will be there every step of the way to watch it,” Michelle Ford said.

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