COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A West Side man has been charged after allegedly following a Ukrainian tourist off a CTA bus and sexually attacking her inside a foyer —until a good Samaritan chased him away.
Ledarius Johnson, 18, was able to smother, choke and grope the 47-year-old victim — who is visiting Chicago from Ukraine — before a man in the building chased Johnson down the street, police and prosecutors said.
When Johnson appeared in court Thursday on charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, he asked Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr., "How you doing, sir?" before turning to a clerk and sheriff's deputy and saying, "How you doing? How you doing? Good afternoon!"
Panarese asked if Johnson was OK, and then said "let's just get through this," before setting bail at $500,000.
According to prosecutors, Johnson followed the woman off a No. 66 Chicago Avenue bus about 8 p.m. Monday. Police said witnesses on the bus called 911 as they watched Johnson follow her down the 2600 block of West Chicago Avenue.
As she entered the building where she's staying, Johnson grabbed her hair, forced her inside the foyer and pushed her to the ground, Assistant State's Attorney Lesley Gool said.
Johnson repeatedly groped and choked the victim, who was crying for help in Ukrainian, Gool said. She allegedly tried to give Johnson her cellphone and purse, but he wouldn't take them and continued the attack.
A witness, whom police identified as a 33-year-old man, heard the commotion and rushed downstairs, prosecutors said. His wife called 911.
When Johnson saw the witness, he took off running — and the good Samaritan chased him, according to Gool. Neighbors said they saw the witness run after Johnson in socks, and Johnson was arrested a short while later hiding on a nearby porch, police said.
According to prosecutors, Johnson was wearing "a distinctive green coat" and a red sweatshirt at the time of his arrest. CTA surveillance footage shows Johnson in the same outfit.
According to court records, Johnson has prominent forehead tattoos and a cross tattooed between his eyebrows.
The victim, who is visiting a cousin in Chicago, suffered cuts on her face and bruising on her legs and neck, prosecutors said. The woman has been staying with her cousin for a few weeks.
"We are blessed to live in an area where neighbors truly look out for one another and the police are engaged and involved in making ours a safer neighborhood," Kim Shepherd, a CAPS facilitator, said. "When our brave neighbor comes forward, he has dozens of standing offers for congratulatory adult beverages from his grateful fellow residents."
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