A man charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl while she waited on the platform of a Little Village CTA station to catch a train for school was turned in by his mother, prosecutors said Thursday.
Junior Thigpen, 25, faces felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of a child and unlawful restraint in connection with the incident, which happened June 10 at the Pink Line station at 2100 S. Western Ave., according to Cook County prosecutors.
His bail was set at $100,000 Thursday.
Thigpen’s mother recognized him in photos taken from CTA surveillance cameras that were released by Chicago police the day after the incident and called police on June 12, prosecutors said.
Thigpen’s assistant public defender said he had a history of mental illness, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Judge Arthur Wesley Willis said the circumstances of the incident would normally have led him to hold Thigpen without bail, but due to the history of mental illness, Willis set bail at $100,000 with electronic monitoring if he posts bond.
Willis also ordered Thigpen be housed at Cermak Hospital at the jail to receive treatment for mental illness, which Willis said he believed would benefit Thigpen and the community.
“This court is loathe to hold someone with mental health issues [on] no bail,” Willis said of his order.
Prosecutors said Thigpen was recorded masturbating on the platform and walking around with his pants off and his genitals exposed before the girl walked onto the platform to take a train to school.
Thigpen walked up to her from behind and touched her, prosecutors said. He grabbed the front of her pants and tried to pull her to him, but she was able to get away. He then began to masturbate again, prosecutors said.
The girl called her mother from the train and told her what happened, in addition to reporting the incident when she arrived at school, prosecutors said.
Police received a tip two days later from a security officer at a hospital that Thigpen was masturbating in front of people at the hospital and was wearing the same clothes as the man seen in the surveillance photos released the day before, prosecutors said. The same day, Thigpen’s mother saw a Facebook post about the incident and recognized her son.
Thigpen, who lives in Lawndale, was taken into custody Wednesday on the grounds of Mount Sinai Hospital and allegedly identified himself in surveillance photos and made admissions to touching the girl, prosecutors said.
Thigpen was convicted of a sex offense at age 16, prosecutors said, and was previously convicted of failing to register as a sex offender in Kane County. He was also convicted of a felony count of stalking in 2013, according to court records.
He was scheduled to return to court July 9.