Social service worker found guilty of choking, but not sexually assaulting, transgender woman in Uptown

A former social services worker who was accused of sexually assaulting and choking a transgender woman in Uptown has been found not guilty of the sexual assault by a jury. But the panel did convict 56-year-old Dean Kruel of aggravated battery by strangling.

Kruel received a three-year sentence. But, after getting credits for time spent in jail while awaiting trial and the state’s standard 50% sentence reduction for good behavior, Kruel was released from state custody on the same day he went in.

Dean Kruel | CPD

The 24-year-old victim met Kruel through the Jack’d dating app in March 2018 and went to his Uptown apartment to have some wine, prosecutors said at the time.

She later told police she fell asleep on Kruel’s couch after they consumed a couple bottles of wine. When she woke up, her clothing had been removed and Kruel was sexually assaulting her, she alleged. Kruel choked her, punched her in the face five times, and continued the assault, prosecutors alleged in 2018.

The woman bit Kruel on the face and broke free. Still naked, she ran into the apartment building hallway and screamed for help, prosecutors said. Neighbors rendered aid and called 911.

Police responded, but the victim did not immediately report being sexually assaulted, according to court records. Officers took a battery report and the victim was taken to Weiss Memorial Hospital where she received stitches and treatment for cuts and bruises.

Later, after consulting with a relative, the victim filed a sexual assault report and returned to Weiss to have a sexual assault kit collected.

Kruel claimed in his LinkedIn profile to have years of experience working with marginalized persons at Chicago social service agencies. Among other roles, he claimed to have experience as an “overnight youth specialist” at a shelter. In another role, Kruel said he “effect[ed] the policies and philosophies of…Harm Reduction and Sanctuary.”

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Editors note: Kruel was sentenced in mid-March. Our report has been delayed by having limited access to court records during the COVID-19 outbreak.