Charges filed after series of sex assaults

March 12, 2010 4:51:20 PM PST
Chicago police have filed charges against a man after a string of sexual assaults. The alleged attacks were reported on the city's Southwest Side.The rape suspect, 23-year-old Chauvet Stiggers, turned himself in Wednesday with his attorney by his side, but he was not charged until early Friday, after two days of questioning.

Police had previously issued a warrant for the man's arrest.

Police say the community played a big role in Stiggers' arrest. A witness stepped forward after seeing a photo of Stiggers on the news and now authorities are looking for anyone else that might be a possible victim.

Friends of Stiggers left his court appearance Friday still convinced of his innocence.

"He's not a rapist. And I know that for sure. I've known him since freshman year in high school," said Mario Williams, friend.

Stiggers is suspected in at least three sexual assaults and is charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault with a firearm and aggravated criminal sexual assault committed with a threat to life.

In court Friday afternoon, a judge denied bond for the 23-year-old Chicago man accused of attacking three teenaged girls and suspected of exposing himself to another.

"I used to see him in the neighborhood. My kids go to school around here," said Melvin Clark, neighbor.

The alleged crimes happened in an area from 79th to 83rd Street and from Maplewood Avenue to Pulaski road and began on March 4 with the alleged sexual assault at knife-point of a 17-year-old girl. The next day investigators say Stiggers forced a 16-year-old girl at gunpoint into the van he was driving and then sexually assaulted her. Police say three days later a 13-year-old girl allegedly became his victim.

"In every one of the cases, it pretty much started the same way. He'd ask for directions. He'd offer them money to get in the car," said Sgt. Will Svilar, Chicago Police Department.

Police issued a community alert and got a big break when the mother of a teen Stiggers allegedly approached wrote down the driver's license plate number. Officers determined the Green Chrysler mini-van belonged to Stiggers' girlfriend who cooperated with police.

"Once the community got involved and started networking with the Chicago Police Department and gave the information it washelpful in making an arrest," said Andrew Holmes, community activist.

Then all the victims identified Stiggers as their attacker and report seeing him driving a green minivan.

Accompanied by an attorney, Stiggers who also goes by the names Rashaun Little, Andre Harris, and Deandre Harris surrendered to police.

"I saw him on TV earlier. It was like, 'man this guy walks past me like every day,' said John Marshall, an area resident. "It's crazy."

Prosecutors say Stiggers has been charged with a misdemeanor solicitation charge as well for allegedly approaching the two girls. Police add that he has been arrested 16 times in Cook County including one time last year for suspicion of sexual assault. Investigators say charges were dropped when the woman involved refused to press charges