Prosecutors: CTA sex assault victim’s screams ignored by other commuter

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Ronald Sparks | Supplied

A woman wrestled and scratched the man who sexually assaulted her early Sunday on an empty CTA Red Line train.

She held onto a pole, grabbed him by the testicles and kept trying to fight him off until the southbound train pulled up to the next stop at North/Clybourn and a male passenger walked in, Cook County prosecutors said.

The woman — her pants and underwear pulled down — screamed at the stranger for help.

But instead of assisting, the passenger turned around and exited the train, leaving the woman alone again with Ronald Sparks, 34, Assistant State’s Attorney Kim Przekota said.

Sparks fled to the next train car, leaving behind his cellphone.

And the 27-year-old woman got off at the Clark/Division stop and reported the attack to a CTA employee, Przekota said.

The woman suffered bruising to her thighs and knees and possibly a broken finger as a result of the assault, Przekota said.

She also has abrasions to her cheek, face and head.

Sparks was arrested the next day when a CTA security subcontractor saw him smoking a cigar on a CTA train at the State/Lake stop and recognized him from the transit agency’s surveillance photos, according to a police report.

Sparks was wearing the same clothes he had worn during the attack the day before, authorities said the K-9 security officer noticed.

The woman had entered the train at the Fullerton stop at 5 a.m. Sunday.

Sparks, the only other passenger in the car, came up to her and tried to touch her legs several times after the doors closed, Przekota said.

When the woman pushed Sparks’ hand away, he allegedly told her he was going to rape her and tried to take off her shorts.

Sparks pushed the woman across the seats and climbed on top of her, Przekota said.

As she tried to fight him off, Sparks pushed the victim to the rear of the train and threw her on the floor, causing her face to hit the ground, Przekota said.

The woman kept trying to push Sparks off and held tightly onto pole. But Sparks pried her hands off and covered her mouth when she screamed, Przekota said.

He eventually took off the woman’s pants, pinned her down and straddled her, telling her that he was a rapist in an enclosed compartment in the rear of the car, Przekota said.

Spark proceeded to attack the woman before the car came to the next stop and the other commuter ignored her cries, Przekota said.

Sparks, who was wearing a paper gown in court Tuesday, allegedly admitted to threatening the woman with rape and fighting with her on the train.

He also identified himself and the victim in the surveillance footage, Przekota said.

Sparks, of the 7700 block of South Throop Street, was ordered held on $1 million bail Tuesday for aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint.

Sparks, who works as a mover, has a prior drug-related conviction from Iowa.

He also has a 2013 public indecency conviction for masturbating in front of a woman at the Harold Washington Library.

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