Suspect held on $1M bond in alleged cab attack

July 6, 2009 3:50:30 PM PDT
A Chicago cab driver has been charged with kidnapping and sexual abuse. Police say he attacked a 24-year-old female passenger.

James Batrony of Evanston appeared in bond court on Monday. The judge set a $1 million bond for Bartrony who is a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

During the court hearing, Batrony kept shaking his head when prosecutors read the charges and described what had happened.

The victim says she had gotten into a cab at North Clark and West Fullerton in Lincoln Park Friday night. It is a popular place to be on a Friday night. The victim says she hailed a cab, and the next thing she knew, she was being sexually abused.

It was supposed to be a quick half-mile cab ride, but police s say it turned into a terrifying trip for a North Side woman. The victim wanted to go to North Clark and West Diversey. Instead of taking her there, the victim says, the driver took her to a secluded location. That's where police say the 55-year-old cab driver, Fred Batrony, attacked the woman.

Afterwards, police say, Batrony dropped the victim off where she had wanted to go initially, where she managed to get a hold of a friend and call police.

Investigators say the victim was able to give them a detailed description of the cab. Police say that helped them find Batrony, who is now charged with kidnapping and criminal sexual abuse.

Officers brought Batrony into custody Saturday morning.

Alderman Vi Daley, 43rd Ward, said she will be sending out an email alert to residents warning them to be on guard when riding alone in cabs.

"If you don't feel good when you're with a cab driver, get out of the cab. Probably the best thing to do is travel in twos," Daley said.

"It's going to make me think twice about getting in there alone, and if they take me to my destination or not," said Layne Hausser..

"You don't even think about it. You figure you're safe," said Kristin Mann.

Candace Lewis says she usually takes cabs with groups of people, but she also says that overall, a cab may be the safest bet at night.

"You want to be safe. You're thinking, 'Well, I'm going to take a taxi. I'm going to get to my destination safe as opposed to walking or maybe even taking public transportation,'" said Lewis.


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