A 28-year-old man sexually assaulted an employee at a South Side spa last week, Cook County prosecutors said Monday.
Jameel Ballard faces charges of kidnapping, criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault in the Oct. 22 attack.
On that day, Ballard entered a Bridgeport spa, located in the 2900 block of South Archer Avenue, and found a woman folding towels in a back room, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney James Murphy said during a bond hearing.
After the woman asked if he wanted a massage, Ballard allegedly grabbed her by the hair and forced her into a vacant room and told her to remove her clothes, Murphy said. When the woman refused, Ballard allegedly punched her in the face and proceeded to try to take her pants off.
After struggling for a while, the spa worker told Ballard to lay on the bed. He grabbed her arm with one hand and used his other to take off his pants, Murphy said.
Ballard allegedly exposed himself and tried to force the woman to perform a sex act. The spa worker resisted and asked Ballard to leave.
When Ballard ignored her pleas, the woman gave in to Ballard and performed a sex act in an attempt to prevent further abuse, Murphy said.
Then the woman said she was going to grab Ballard a towel. Instead, she left the establishment and called a friend in a nearby alley.
The friend found Ballard using the bathroom and subsequently flagged down police, Murphy said.
The spa worker identified Ballard as the man who attacked her, according to prosecutors. Investigators recovered surveillance video from the business as well as a towel Ballard used after the encounter, Murphy said.
Footage showed Ballard entering the spa and locking the door. Ballard can allegedly be seen pulling the woman’s hair and forcing her into a room, Murphy said. Video also shows the spa worker leaving the room and exiting the spa through the front door.
Ballard denied having sexual contact with the spa worker, Murphy said.
During the bond hearing, Ballard ignored an assistant public defender’s advice not to speak about the case and admitted to entering the spa but denied assaulting and kidnapping the woman. Instead, he said the spa worker became upset with him after his charge card was declined following a massage.
Ballard, who works as a general laborer, lives with his mother and has a 6-year-old daughter, according to his public defender. He also volunteers for an outreach program, called “Jamming with Jesus.”
Ballard was ordered held in lieu of $200,000 bail.
He’s due back in court Nov. 9.