Rahm blasts judge: ‘Decisions judges make have consequences’

SHARE Rahm blasts judge: ‘Decisions judges make have consequences’

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday unleashed his anger at a judge who dismissed criminal sexual assault charges against a man charged again in January with the brutal attack of a BelmontCragin teenager on her way to school near a Safe Passage route.

The resolution introduced at a City Council meeting was to honor all of the police officers ultimately responsible for apprehending 25-year-old Luis Pantoja.

“I think I speak for everybody in saying one’s heart is broken for this young girl. And these resolutions don’t do justice to the justice you’ve done on behalf of the entire city,” the mayor said.

But Emanuel seized the opportunity to take a political shot at Circuit Judge Laura M. Sullivan, who dismissed similar charges against Pantoja in September2013. In that case, a Hispanic woman said she didn’t fully understand English andstumbled overa defense attorney’s questions after revealing intimate details of a rape she said she suffered in August at the hands of Pantoja.

The attorney cross-examining the Spanish-speaking woman asked if it would be easier for her to answer with an interpreter, and she said, “Yes, please.” Instead, Sullivan asked the defense attorney to rephrase the question, and the preliminary hearing continued, according to a transcript obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.When it ended, records show, the judge found there was no probable cause and effectively dismissed a criminal sexual-assault charge against Pantoja.

“I will say that the one person who won’t be getting a resolution will be the judge who let this indvidual out on a technicality,” Emanuel said Wednesday. “There was a technicality there. A young woman’s life is now changed. A family is different. The neighborhood is different. Decisions judges make have consequences. And that technicality has reverberated and changed a young girl’s life. So, while this is to honor you, we should remember where it began and how it began.”

A local resident found the girl in the Belmont Cragin attack — shoeless, bleeding and all but unconscious with her pants yanked off — around 8 a.m. Dec. 17 in the resident’s backyard in the 2400block of North Long.

Pantojafaces charges ofattempted murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery and unlawful possession of a weapon in the case.

The Latest
The person was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition, officials said. An officer was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center but did not suffer a gunshot wound, officials said.
Our streets can and should evolve over time to meet the needs of our communities.
Until this fall, Ben Snider’s claim to fame in football was winning a championship in intramural flag football as a freshman.
Despite being of age to mate, Imani spent the summer alone. Now bird watchers have their fingers crossed he returns to Montrose Beach next summer.
The concerts were canceled following outcry over his sympathetic stance toward Russia in its war against Ukraine.