A federal grand jury has indicted a former longtime Chicago police officer on a civil rights charge in the alleged kidnapping and sexual abuse of an individual in March 2019.
James Sajdak, 64, pleaded not guilty through his attorney during an arraignment Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox. The 29-year veteran resigned from the Chicago Police Department as a sergeant in April 2019, according to CPD.
“Sgt. Sajdak served the city of Chicago for over 30 years, and we look forward to confronting the evidence,” Timothy Grace, Sajdak’s defense attorney, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The one-count indictment against Sajdak contains few details, but it alleges the incident occurred March 5, 2019. Sajdak also faced a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Tyshee Featherstone, a transgender female, alleging Sajdak sexually assaulted her the same day.
Featherstone’s complaint was settled in April 2020, records show. Her attorney could not be reached for comment.
The lawsuit alleged Featherstone was approached at Fifth and Cicero avenues by an officer, later identified as Sajdak, who asked “What was she doing here?”
Sajdak allegedly told Featherstone she had no choice but to perform a sex act on him “because that’s what you do, or you will go to jail.”
Sajdak allegedly ordered Featherstone into the front passenger seat of his police vehicle, and drove to Kostner Avenue and Lexington Street where he ordered Featherstone to give him her phone number, according to the complaint. He said he frequented the area and that Featherstone would become one of his regulars, the lawsuit alleged.
Sajdak then closed the cover of his police computer, exposed himself and demanded that Featherstone perform a sexual act, according to the lawsuit. Featherstone complied out of fear and was left in an alley by Sajdak, it said.
Featherstone spit what she believed to include semen into a bottle, and a friend took her to Rush hospital, the lawsuit alleged.
That lawsuit also alleged that 44 complaints had been lodged against Sajdak as of 2019 and that the city in 1997 sustained a complaint against him involving the sale or possession of illegal drugs. The result was a 30-day suspension, the lawsuit said.
Sajdak was accused of harassment in a separate lawsuit filed by Geneva Perry, who alleged Sajdak pulled over her vehicle on Sept. 8, 2016, at St. Louis Avenue and Roosevelt Road and ordered her to follow him to Homan Avenue and Roosevelt. Sajdak then masturbated in front of her between their two parked cars, according to Perry’s lawsuit.
That lawsuit was settled in December 2019, records show.