Man gets 3 years for attacking woman at Lakeview bus stop, but prosecutors drop sexual assault charges

CHICAGO — The man who was initially charged with trying to sexually assault a woman at a Lakeview bus stop last summer has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a three-year sentence, according to Cook County court records.

James Rusczyk, 50, received the sentence from Judge James Gamboney after pleading guilty to one count of aggravated battery in a public place. Prosecutors dropped eight other felonies in their plea deal with Rusczyk, including six counts of attempted criminal sexual assault.

The judge who handled Rusczyk’s initial bail hearing last July, Charles Beach, gave a nod to the passersby who prosecutors said intervened in the attack on the 2900 block of North Sheridan.

“But for these good Samaritans and citizens of the city of Chicago, this event could have been far, far worse than it already was,” Beach surmised.

The 41-year-old victim, who is hearing impaired, was at the bus stop around 6:15 a.m. when Rusczyk stepped off a bus and stood next to her, prosecutors told Beach.

James Rusczyk and the bus stop where the attack allegedly occurred. | CPD; Google

Officials alleged that Rusczyk suddenly grabbed the woman’s shoulders with both hands and struggled with her, pushing her to the ground. The victim fell on her left elbow. A prosecutor said Rusczyk straddled the woman’s 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.

Rusczyk ran away as the first witness approached him, but the witness followed him onto a #77 Belmont bus and told the driver what was happening. Chicago police arrested Rusczyk when he exited the bus on Belmont near Broadway.

Rusczyk, who spent most of his life in Indiana, was living in an Uptown homeless shelter at the time of his arrest, according to one of his defense attorneys.

His sentence will be reduced by 50% for good behavior. With credits earned before pleading, Rusczyk is scheduled to be released on January 25.

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