Man arrested in Lincoln Park sexual assaults, police say

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police arrested a man early Friday wanted in connection with two sexual assaults in Lincoln Park and a third attempt in the Gold Coast, police said.

The arrest came less than 24 hours after police released a surveillance photo of the man, who police believe sexually assaulted a student on the DePaul campus on Thursday.

Isidrio Valverde, 40, was arrested in Uptown and charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault. He also faces other charges after police say he hit an officer with his car while trying to avoid arrest. That officer was treated at a local hospital and released.

"I actually have tears of joy right now," said Kaie Raig, who says the man in the photo sexually assaulted her on Aug. 9 in the 1900-block of North Bissell Street around 3:45 a.m. That's just five blocks west of Thursday's attack.

Police say a victim identified Valverde as the man who allegedly sexually assaulted her Thursday in Lincoln Park.

In each attack, the women were walking home alone in the early morning hours when they were approached from behind by the suspect. Two of the victims were already in their entryways when they were attacked. After each attack, the man ran away.

A 21-year-old DePaul University student was walking home in the 900-block of West Belden Avenue around 1:40 a.m. Thursday, just east of the Lincoln Park campus student center. Police said that's when a man walked up to her, knocked her to the ground and sexually assaulted her. She screamed and he ran.

Investigators said the same man may have tried to sexually assault a woman in the 100-block of West Goethe Street around 12:25 a.m. on Aug. 15 in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood.

Right now, Raig is out-of-state and spending time with family. But she looks forward to her day in court with her attacker.

"I think I'm strong enough," Raig said. "I think it's important for people who commit these acts to actually see my face."

Raigs' neighbors have stood solidly by her side, reaching out to politicians and police.

"I'm so incredibly relieved and thankful that our block, our neighborhood stood up together against this, said neighbor Sarah Brennan.

"This is an example of what can happen when we do the right things, when we communicate, we investigate and we put resources to what we care about which is the safety of our people," said Julie Smolyansky, of Test400K.org, which pushes for police departments to rest rape kits.

At DePaul University, there is also a sense of relief that someone has been arrested.

"Thank God, especially being a girl and seeing he was targeting girls," said student Alyssa Kuciunas.

Valverde is due in bond court Saturday.

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