Testimony began Tuesday in the trial of Daniel Vorberg, who has been charged with two felony counts of public indecency.
Vorberg, 31, of Oak Lawn, stands accused of two felony counts of public indecency of which he is alleged to have sat his car masturbating and pointing his cell phone at some young children playing outside in Chicago on April 30, 2013. He was arrested the next day in Oak Lawn when an adult who witnessed the alleged act took a picture of Vorberg’s plate number as he sped away.
Residents from Mt. Greenwood and Oak Lawn packed the benches inside room 107 at the Cook County Courthouse in Bridgeview, at the urging of Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th). Many left in the mid-afternoon to pick up children from school. O'Shea stayed almost to the end, when court recessed about 5 p.m.
Vorberg sat in the courtroom wearing glasses, a white shirt, black tie and black slacks. His mother, Sandra Vorberg, sat behind him in the first row of spectator benches.
Prosecutors were not allowed to bring up Vorberg’s past criminal history to the seven women, six man jury, including three counts of child abduction when he was accused of luring three, 11-year-old Oak Lawn girls to his car in October 2009. Those charges resulted in a hung jury, and later, an acquittal in a retrial, according to court records.
Testimony on Tuesday included John Gregus and his fiance, Kelly Mahoney, the two adults who prosecutors say observed Vorberg masturbating in his car, a teacher from Cassell Elementary School, an FBI a computer forensic examiner and a store operations manager for ATT.
Anita Shah, an information technology specialist for the Chicago FBI office, testified that when she examined Vorberg’s Apple iPhone 3GS which was retrieved by police when he was arrested on May 1, 2013, it was in sleep mode and appeared to be wiped of data.
“I reached the conclusion the phone had been restored to its factory settings,” Shah said.
She further stated that she was unable to determine the IP address that may have requested the purported phone swipe.
“So you have no idea when the request was made to wipe the phone,” Vorberg’s attorney, Hal Garfinkle said.
Isiah Ezoskie, who oversees 86 stores in Illinois and Wisconsin for ATT, said the last data or text transmission on Vorberg’s phone occurred at 3:59 p.m. April 30, 3013. The timeline of the alleged incident was 4:08 p.m.
The state's last witness to take the stand on Tuesday was John Gregus, the union carpenter who took a cell phone picture of Vorberg’s license plate number. The photo was later posted to neighborhood Facebook groups.
Gregus explained that he lived with Kelly Maloney, and Maloney’s 9-year-old daughter, whom he referred to as his “stepdaughter.” When he came home between 3 and 3:45 p.m. on April 30, 2013, his stepdaughter and six young friends were outside playing in front of the house on a warm spring afternoon.
Gregus said his fiance went upstairs to the second floor to use the bathroom, when she called out a moment later in an excited and loud tone.
“She yelled down that some pervert was jerking off in a car in front of the house,” Gregus recalled for prosecutors. “I got up and went right out the door pretty quick.”
Explaining how walked along the backyard privacy fence and seeing the nose of a blueish-green BMW parked on 112th Place. Gregus testified that the car’s windows were down.
The man inside the car, whom he later identified in a photo and physical lineup as Vorberg, was pointing his cell phone at his stepdaughter and her friends with his right hand, as he fondled his penis with his left hand.
Gregus told the court he was about eight to ten feet away from the BMW and that Vorberg’s pants and belt were open, with the pants folded down a few inches below his waist.
“As soon as I seen what was going on, I said what the [expletive deleted] are you doing,” Gregus said. “He grabbed some tissues to cover himself and threw the phone down on the passenger seat. He and said he was making a phone call.”
Vorberg quickly sped off, turning southbound on Spaulding blowing a stop sign, and almost hiting another car in his haste to get away, Gregus testified.
Garfinkle asked whether Gregus later told a Chicago police detective that “Vorberg’s pants were pulled all the way down to the floorboard.”
Gregus said he never told the cops that Vorberg’s pants were pulled all the way down. He also explained how he took the picture of the BMW’s license plate and showed it to police. From the time he saw Vorberg to when he pulled away from the curb, he was grabbing his cell phone out of his pocket, about eight seconds.
“Why didn’t you take a picture of him?” Vorberg’s attorney asked.
“I had to unlock the phone, set the camera and take the photo,” Gregus said. “I was lucky I got his plate when he was making a right turn.”
A Chicago police detective is the first witness scheduled to testify on Wednesday, which should take an hour. The defense will put only one witness on the stand. Associate Judge Stephen Connolly wants to keep things moving. Attorneys hope to send the case to the jury on Wednesday.