Suspect charged in NW Side sex assaults

June 30, 2009 5:15:36 PM PDT
A man charged with two sexual assaults on Chicago's Northwest Side appeared in court Tuesday. The man is suspected in more attacks. The most recent assault happened Monday in the city's Bucktown neighborhood. Police believe the suspect may also be responsible for other recent sexual assaults on the Northwest Side.

Thirty-one-year-old Damario McNeil was captured by police shortly after Monday's assault. Police have surveillance tape showing the attack.

Prosecutors were granted permission Tuesday to obtain DNA evidence from Damario McNeil to determine whether he is, in fact, the suspect in a few other sexual assaults that took place in Bucktown earlier this year. He faces several charges for attacks that had the neighborhood on edge for months.

A camera captured the victim being grabbed minutes before police say her attacker dragged her to an alley and sexually assaulted her. McNeil has been charged with the crime.

"Watching her body twist on the floor and the struggle was kind of scary to see," said Joe Grillo, Fruit Flowers.

Part of Monday morning's attack in Bucktown was videotaped by surveillance cameras that Joe Grillo had installed on his Fruit Flowers franchise. He says, within a matter of seconds, the victim was overpowered and assaulted..

Neighbors who heard her scream called police, who arrested the suspect as he tried to make his getaway.

"The girl was completely helpless. She was attacked from behind at full speed. Wouldn't even know it was coming," said Grillo.

McNeil is also charged in a sexual assault that took place in February in another Bucktown neighborhood. In this case, an 18-year-old woman was attacked around 3 a.m. as she was going to work, assaulted and robbed.

In all, McNeil is charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, one count armed robbery and two counts unlawful restraint. He appeared in court Tuesday, where prosecutors requested that McNeil be denied bond. That request was granted.

"This has been a long, an ongoing investigation by Chicago police officers...and everyone should feel safer that he is off the street," said Jodi Peterson, assistant state's attorney.

McNeil could soon be charged in connection with a third sexual assault. Police are waiting for the victim in that case to identify the suspect in a line-up.

Meantime, there are outstanding warrants for McNeil, who prosecutors say has a history of domestic violence. He will appear in court two days from now to answer to unrelated charges.


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