Lane Tech staff detained man who sexually assaulted girl at a restaurant near campus, prosecutors say

Emmanuel Ortega-Garcia | CPD; Google

An administrator and security guards from Lane Tech High School intervened in the sexual assault of a teenage girl at a fast food restaurant near campus and detained a suspect for Chicago police on Thursday afternoon, prosecutors said.

Emmanuel Ortega-Garcia, 32, was ordered held without bail on charges of criminal sexual assault by force and aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

Prosecutors said a 16-year-old girl skipped school Thursday and headed to Lane Tech on a CTA bus. Ortega-Garcia boarded the bus somewhere along the way, sat down next to her, started asking about her interests, and rubbed her thigh at one point. They did not know each other.

Around 2:30 p.m., the girl got off the bus near the school and realized he was following her. According to prosecutor Nicole Murphy, she went to a nearby gas station where surveillance cameras caught Ortega-Garcia walking closely behind her.

She then went to Wendy’s, 3610 North Western, because she knew several people who worked there and planned to ask them for help. But none of them was working on Thursday afternoon.

Murphy said the girl sat down in a booth, and Ortega-Garcia sat in the same booth, causing the girl to send a video of his face to a friend who was in class at Lane Tech across the street. The girl told her friend that Ortega-Garcia was following her and asked the friend to send school security to help her.

Murphy said the student notified a school administrator and Lane Tech’s assistant principal and security guards started making their way toward the restaurant.

In the meantime, Ortega-Garcia moved to the girl’s side of the booth and sexually assaulted her with his hand, Murphy said. He used so much force, Murphy said, that a hole ripped in the girl’s clothing.

Lane Tech staff arrived moments later and detained Ortega-Garcia until Chicago police arrived.

“Thank goodness the assistant principal and security took the friend’s warning seriously and left the school and came over to the restaurant immediately,” Judge Maryam Ahmad said during Ortega-Garcia’s bail hearing Saturday. “Because, if they hadn’t come over when they did, who knows what could have happened in light of where this was progressing?”

EMS took the girl to a hospital for treatment.

Ortega-Garcia has no criminal background. According to his public defender, he works full-time selling cooking and airbrushing equipment.

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