When news broke last week that a man who allegedly robbed and raped a woman in a Lakeview alley was supposed to be on electronic monitoring as part of his probation for allegedly robbing and sexually abusing a woman last year, a lot of people asked, “How can that happen?”
CWB’s team is actively gathering the facts of that case for an upcoming report.
But we’ve discovered something else that’s quite troubling: Other accused rapists have gone missing after getting out of jail on electronic monitoring. And they’re still at large.
In January 2020, we told you about the allegations against Klevontaye White. Police arrested him in Old Town after he was allegedly identified as the man who threatened a woman at knifepoint, then robbed and sexually assaulted her in his car on the 1600 block of West Congress.
Prosecutors charged him with aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon and armed robbery, and Judge Susana Ortiz ordered him held without bail.
About six months later, White asked for a bail reduction and Judge Charles Burns agreed to let him go home on electronic monitoring if he posted a $10,000 deposit. One month later, White’s mother posted the payment and White went home to Old Town, according to court records.
On December 4, prosecutors filed a violation of bail bond petition because White removed his GPS ankle monitor and went missing, they said. White hasn’t been seen since.
According to Illinois Department of Corrections records, White was sentenced to five years in prison for carjacking in 2015 and six years for shooting someone in 2005.
Then there’s the incredible case of Rene Chandler.
Chandler went on electronic monitoring while facing charges of sexually assaulting two women — then got accused of robbing another woman while he was on bail. Then, a judge let him out on electronic monitoring again. For $500. He has disappeared.
In August 2018, prosecutors charged Chandler with sexually assaulting and battering two different women that he met separately on dating apps.
In one case, he invited a 26-year-old woman to a condo in the 800 block of North LaSalle and then tried to sleep with her, prosecutors said. When the woman started to walk out, Chandler allegedly grabbed her from behind, threw her on the couch, and sexually assaulted her. She reported the incident a short time later.
During that investigation, police learned that Chandler was a person of interest in another sexual assault case reported in Streeterville earlier that year.
That alleged attack involved a 22-year-old woman who told police Chandler invited her to a high-rise party in the 400 block of East Ohio via social media. When Chandler tried to have sex with the woman, she began “kicking and screaming and managed to knee [him] in the face,” prosecutors said in a court filing.
Chandler “became very angry and slapped [her face]” after she kicked him, according to allegations. When she tried to leave, he grabbed her by her wig, threw her to the ground, kicked and punched her, and sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said.
Afterward, he followed the woman onto the elevator and continued to batter her as they rode down to lobby level, according to prosecutors. The woman flagged down police outside, but Chandler was no longer at the scene. Cops later arrested him.
A judge set Chandler’s bail on the attacks at $100,000 each, and he posted $20,000 to get out of jail on electronic monitoring.
A few months after Chandler went home to await trial, another woman accused him of battering and robbing her as they rode in an Uber near Hyde Park.
The woman, 26, met Chandler through social media and had been dating him for a short time when they got into an argument in the Uber. When the driver pulled over because the argument was escalating, Chandler struck the woman in her face and took her new phone along with $640 cash from her purse, prosecutors said. According to the state’s allegations, he ran from the car and fled in a taxi cab.
A judge ordered him held without bail for violating the terms of bail in the sexual assault cases and set bail in the robbery matter at $80,000, court records show.
Chandler remained in jail until COVID arrived a year ago.
On April 9, 2020, Chandler’s defense attorney filed a motion to get him out of jail due to COVID concerns. The lawyer told Judge Thomas Hennelly that the sexual assault cases were “he-said-she-said” and claimed Chandler bought the phone for the alleged robbery victim.
Hennelly, who had not been overseeing the case previously, repeatedly questioned why the judge assigned to the matters didn’t take action for over a year if the lawyer’s arguments had been presented to him. In court transcripts, Hennelly seems reluctant to take a major step when the trial judge had not done so.
Nonetheless, Hennelly struck Chandler’s no-bail status and allowed him to get out of jail by posting a $500 deposit bond, court records show.
Prosecutors, who presented minimal counter-arguments during the April 9 bond hearing, filed an emergency motion to reinstate Chandler’s no-bail status.
Among other things, the state’s attorney’s office admitted that its lawyers did not tell Hennelly the facts of the sexual assault cases. And, prosecutors said, Chandler’s alleged victims weren’t even notified of the bond reduction hearing.
The state also revealed that Chandler was accused in 2013 of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman he met online. But a judge later dismissed the case finding no probable cause.
And, prosecutors accused Chandler of talking about paying off one of his alleged victims during a jailhouse phone call in March 2020. During the call, Chandler “details one of his cases and also discusses a previous attempt to tamper with a victim and pay her a sum of money to alter her story,” attorneys for the state said.
After hearing the prosecution’s objection and Chandler’s defense, Judge Michael McHale ordered Chandler to return to jail and be held without bail. But the hearing was conducted via Zoom due to the COVID pandemic and Chandler could not be taken into custody immediately.
Instead, a warrant was issued for Chandler’s arrest two days later. No one has seen Chandler since.