An Uptown man knocked a woman to the ground and tried to sexually assault her as she waited for her bus in Lakeview on Thursday morning, prosecutors said. Witnesses intervened in the attack and helped police locate the accused man nearby.
“But for these good Samaritans and citizens of the city of Chicago, this event could have been far, far worse than it already was,” said Judge Charles Beach.
At around 6:15 a.m., James Rusczyk stepped off a bus in the 2900 block of North Sheridan and stood near a 41-year-old woman who was looking up the street for her own bus to arrive, officials said. She had never met Rusczyk before.
Rusczyk suddenly grabbed the woman’s shoulders with both hands and struggled with her, pushing her to the ground, according to Hanichak. The victim, who is deaf, fell on her left elbow.
Hanichak said that Rusczyk straddled her legs and tried to lower his pants as she fought to get away.
A witness on another bus noticed what was happening and walked across the street to intervene while calling 911. A passing motorist also dialed 911. According to Hanichak, both witnesses saw Rusczyk trying to lower his pants, and one of them saw his pants were undone.
Rusczyk ran away as the first witness approached him, but the witness followed Ruscyzk onto a #77 Belmont bus and told the driver what was happening, Hanichak said.
Police arrested Rusczyk when he exited the bus on Belmont near Broadway. He faces attempted criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery in a public place charges.
Hanichak and the judge both noted that state law prohibits them from holding Rusczyk without bail on the charges filed.
Assistant Public Defender Patrick Shine said Rusczyk lived in Indiana for most of his life but has been in Cook County for a year. Shine said Rusczyk is homeless. CPD listed Rusczyk’s home address as a housing facility run by a social service group in Uptown.
Beach set bail at $400,000, meaning Rusczyk must post $40,000 to get out of jail.