Man gets 5 years for groping girls in the Loop

Chicago — A Chicago man has been sentenced to five years for allegedly groping young girls as they shopped with adults in the Loop in July 2020.

Michael Garrett, 33, initially denied touching two girls but later admitted “his energy may have touched them,” a prosecutor said during his initial bail hearing. Garrett has now pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child under the age of 13. Prosecutors dropped a second identical charge.

Michael Garrett was accused of groping two girls outside these shoe stores in the Loop. | Chicago Police Department; Google

One girl was with her mother in the first block of South State when Garrett touched the child’s buttocks through her clothing in July 2020, prosecutors said. A witness who saw the incident screamed out, and the girl confirmed that Garrett had touched her.

Moments later, Garrett walked up behind another girl outside a shoe store on the same block and gave the child a bearhug from behind — touching her back and buttocks over her clothing, prosecutors said. Garrett then reached around to grab the girl’s private areas, but the child stopped him. The victim’s cousin and other witnesses allegedly saw the incident.

Garrett reportedly ran inside a nearby store to get away from witnesses who were confronting him. When an employee of the store approached Garrett, he caressed her from behind and busted through the shop’s front revolving door. Police arrested Garrett about a block away.

Judge James Obbish sentenced Garrett to five years with 823 days credit for time spent in jail after being arrested. Garrett must register as a sex offender for life.

Two women contacted authorities about being inappropriately touched by Garrett before the State Street incidents, including one in 2019. The victims did not follow through on filing charges with prosecutors and police, prosecutors said.

Garrett reported to prison on October 18, and after receiving a 50% sentence reduction for good behavior, he will be paroled on December 30, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.

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