|Quinten Hawthorne was accused of sexually abusing a girl at Bell Elementary last November. | CPD; Google|
A man who worked for a Chicago Public Schools vendor was accused of sexually assaulting two young girls on the South Side nearly three years before a 12-year-old girl accused him of sexual abuse at a North Center elementary school last winter, according to police records.
Yet, authorities didn’t charge Quinten Hawthorne in the earlier cases until after he was arrested and charged with abusing the schoolgirl, records show. Exactly why the earlier cases sat for three years, then suddenly resulted in charges after a third girl reported being victimized is not clear.
While the girls’ allegations sat unprosecuted, Hawthorne went to work for Right At School, a vendor that provided after-school and recess monitoring services at Alexander Graham Bell Elementary.
Late last year, a 12-year-old girl told a Bell staff member Hawthorne pinned her against a wall at the school and rubbed his body against her on several occasions between Nov. 7th and Nov. 21st. Hawthorne was arrested in late December and charged with felony aggravated sexual abuse of a victim under age 13 and felony sexual exploitation of a child.
He went home on electronic monitoring after posting a $5,000 deposit bond.
We discovered during a routine review of court records last week that two even more disturbing charges were filed against Hawthorne just weeks after the school case.
Chicago police records show that a mother filed a criminal sexual assault report on behalf of her two daughters in December 2015. The girls, who were ages 9 and 10 at the time, told forensic interviewers that Hawthorne had sexually assaulted them, according to a police report and charges filed by prosecutors this year.
Police said the older girl told investigators that Hawthorne kissed her neck and touched her private areas on multiple occasions between February and December 2015.
The younger child told an interviewer that Hawthorne touched her private areas and had sex with her during the same timeframe, according to a CPD arrest report.
No charges were filed for more than three years until January 15, 2019, less than three weeks after charges were approved in the Bell School case.
Police arrested Hawthorne on the 2015 cases in mid-January. He’s charged with three counts of Class X felony predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under age 13 and six felony counts of criminal sexual abuse of a victim under age 13. He has been held without bail ever since.
So, why didn’t the girls’ allegations result in charges before the Bell student allegedly fell victim to Hawthorne? Chicago police last week told us that we should ask the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for the answer.
“The Chicago Police Department did not contact the State’s Attorney’s Office in 2015 to seek charges against this defendant, nor was State’s Attorney [Kim] Foxx in office at that time” we were told. “In 2019, while investigating [the Bell School case], we reviewed the incidents and added charges relating to those allegations.”
So, we went back to Chicago police and asked again. Why the delay?
The department Monday said the earlier cases were “not presented in a more timely manner due to the timeline to process evidence. There were also identity issues.”
A source said the offender in the 2015 cases was listed by different names. Those identity challenges were apparently resolved quickly after the Bell student lodged new accusations.