A convicted felon with purported mental health issues has been charged with sexually assaulting a 65-year-old woman as she waited for her son to pick her up from her sister’s house in West Garfield Park.
Sedgwick Lanier allegedly followed the woman on March 24 to a back alley, where she climbed into her sister’s car to wait for her ride, Cook County prosecutors said Monday.
Lanier, 53, got into the passenger side of the vehicle and allegedly began choking the woman in the 4000 block of West Wilcox Street. He then exposed himself and forced the victim to perform a sex act, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
Lanier then allegedly began biting the woman as she resisted his attempts to undress her. He also repeatedly punched her, knocking out some of her teeth, Murphy said.
The victim yelled for help as her son approached the alley area. Her sister also came out of the house, and began to chase after Lanier who eventually fled the scene, Murphy said
The victim’s sister and son flagged down CPD officers, who ultimately arrested Lanier.
The woman suffered cuts, bruising and swelling to her face. She also had bite marks on her arms and hands, Murphy said.
The victim and her son identified Lanier in separate photo arrays, Murphy said. The results of the woman’s sexual assault kit are still pending.
Lanier has several prior felony convictions for burglary out of Minnesota, Murphy said. He also has seven misdemeanors, including a 2001 fourth-degree sexual assault out of Wisconsin, Murphy said.
Lanier suffers from several serious mental health illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, his assistant public defender said. Those illnesses have caused him to be hospitalized 39 times, the defense attorney said.
A judge said he’s “cognizant that those with mental health issues are generally best served by treatment rather than incarceration.” But he still ordered Lanier held without bail because of the nature of the offense.
Lanier is expected back in court April 22.