A woman is suing Cook County because she was sexually assaulted by a 15-year-old boy while he was on electronic home monitoring last year, claiming the county released the boy to try and save money.
The suit, filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, seeks more than $100,000 in damages from the county and from Sentinel, the company that sold its electronic ankle bracelets and tracking software to the county.
The 34-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and robbed by three boys — ages 12, 15, and 16 — who entered her home about 11 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2016, according to Chicago Police.
All three were later charged with sexual assault and home invasion in connection with the attack, police said. Their identities were not released because of their ages.
The 15-year-old had been released from custody on house arrest while awaiting trial on unspecified felony charges at the time of the attack, according to the suit.
The teen “left his home while wearing his electronic ankle monitoring bracelet for more than four hours” before her assault and robbery, the suit says.
A spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said they do not comment on pending litigation. A representative for Sentinel also declined to comment.
Nearly two months after the woman’s assault, the Cook County sheriff’s office announced that the population of its jail at 2700 S. California had dropped below 8,000 inmates for the first time in years. It pointed to more inmates being released on electronic monitoring. In a statement, Sheriff Tom Dart said the move helped reduce jail costs and save the county money.
However, the 15-year-old accused in the assault would not have been held at Cook County Jail, but would have been in the care of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center if he wasn’t released.
The suit accuses the county of willful and wanton disregard of public safety and says the county “allowed any percentage of confined bailees to be away from their confined area knowing that some will commit felonies because it allowed for financial savings.”
It also claims the county allowed employees to act as electronic ankle bracelet monitors knowing they were not trained to interpret the data they received from the bracelets. County employees were also “overwhelmed with data received from the hardware” and “were not properly tracking defendants on bail required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet,” the suit says.
The suit accuses Sentinel of negligence for failing to properly train county employees on how to interpret data from the electronic ankle bracelets so that they would know when users had left their homes in violation of their bail.