Oak Lawn Police Chief Bill Villanova said “resolution” is near in a high profile sexual assault case in which a woman claimed she was beaten and forced to perform sex acts by two men earlier this month.
The police chief made his remarks to 200 residents gathered for a public safety town hall meeting at Hannum Elementary School on Monday night. Attending the meeting were Mayor Dave Heilmann, Village Clerk Jane Quinlan and Trustee Tom Duhig (Dist. 4).
The morning assault is believed to have taken place in the St. Catherine’s Parish neighborhood on the south end of Oak Lawn around 10 a.m. Oct. 1.
“All I can say is at this point detectives are working that case,” the police chief said. “It’s active.”
Villanova revealed new details about the alleged assault. The victim—a 46-year-old Orland Park woman—worked for a counseling service. According to a police report, a woman named Mary contacted her to talk about her multiple sclerosis. The two arranged to meet at a restaurant at 107th Street and Pulaski Road.
The woman arrived in Oak Lawn at the scheduled time, and realized there was no restaurant at the corner.
“At that point she’s met by a man who says, ‘are you here for Mary,’ Villanova said. “She follows the man to a house in the south end of Oak Lawn. She goes in the hosue and there is another man there, and they allegedly sexually assaulted her.”
The woman described the house where the assault took place as a one-story ranch home with dark brown brick and dark windows. After the alleged assault and beating took place, the woman drove back to Orland Park where she reported the incident to Orland Park police. Oak Lawn police interviewed the woman at Advocate Christ Medical Center while she underwent a medical examination.
Police drove the woman through the neighborhood but reports said she could not locate or identify the house.
“The case is ongoing; we are making great progress in it,” Villanova said. “All I can say right at this point is because of the nature of where the case is going, we expect resolution as soon as we get information that’s been subpoenaed.”
Villanova identified the subpoenaed materials as phone records
“As soon as we get those we should have some kind of resolution shortly after that,” he said.
The alleged victim did not know her assaulters, Villanova said.
A community alert issued by Oak Lawn Trustee Tom Phelan (Dist. 6) said that police do not believe the neighborhood to be in danger as a result of the purported incident.
Villanova also in which a man was robbed at gunpoint by two male blacks as he worked in his garage in the 9600 block of South Kolin Avenue around 8:40 p.m.
The men had apparently wanted to know where the victim kept a safe. After several minutes the alleged robbers decided there was no safe, but not before discussing whether they should “pop” the man as lay on his garage floor. The men left with his wallet and cell phone.
Police responded within moments of receiving the emergency calls, who searched the neighborhood with four police K9s.
Villanova said the police watch commander on the scene made a conscious decision not to release an emergency alert over that sends voice mail and text messages to residents informing them of emergencies.
“I think we made a mistake but I won’t criticize my watch commander,” he said.
In the future, Villanova said, he and his officers would be developing policies for use of the Everbridge System in cases of police emergencies.
“We have several different theories of how these two guys ended up at that house on Kolin,” Villanova said. “One of the theories being that the [man’s] credit cards were used very shortly after they left that home, in Englewood where the next door neighbor had a business. [The theory is] the neighbor was the intended target when no one was home.”
Referring to where a woman residing in the home was shot during a skirmish with four men, Villanova added: “The part I find a little strange is this is the second house that we had in Oak Lawn where people with businesses in the city have been followed home by people that have created issues in our neighborhood.”
Three of the alleged home invaders were apprehended after a multi-agency car chase and now await trial; the fourth man is still at large.
The town hall meeting was hosted by Heilmann, who wanted to get residents' feedback on ways to enhance community safety and well-being. The mayor said that more public safety meetings would be held throughout Oak Lawn in the near future.