Joseph Kopacz | Cook County sheriff’s office

Sex offender at large after leaving courthouse as jury deliberated

SHARE Sex offender at large after leaving courthouse as jury deliberated
SHARE Sex offender at large after leaving courthouse as jury deliberated

Authorities are searching for a registered sex offender who fled the Leighton Criminal Courthouse earlier this month as a jury deliberated on charges related to a 2016 home invasion and sexual assault.

Joseph Kopacz, 54, of the Buena Park neighborhood, left the courthouse on Nov. 8 and failed to return for the reading of a guilty verdict in the case, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.

Kopacz was charged with an Oct. 15, 2016 home invasion and sexual assault in the 3800 block of North Kenmore, according to the sheriff’s office and Chicago police.

At 8:42 a.m., Kopacz broke into a home and tried to sexually assault a 23-year-old man who was sleeping in his bedroom, police said. The man then woke up and pushed Kopacz off of him. When Kopacz tried to run away, the man chased him down and held him until officers showed up.

Kopacz was free on a $50,000 bond when he ran from the courthouse, the sheriff’s office said. The judge in his trial has since issued a no-bond warrant for his arrest.

He is listed as a sexual predator on Illinois’ online sex offender registry, which lists a conviction for aggravated criminal sexual abuse and has nine photos of the fugitive dating back to 2005.

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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