Man gets 5 years for 15-minute beating of woman on CTA train

Bernard Hightower | Chicago Police Department; Google

CHICAGO — Prosecutors said Bernard Hightower viciously kicked, jumped on, and body-slammed a 32-year-old woman during a 15-minute-long attack on a train in downtown Chicago in April 2021. Hightower has now been sentenced to five years. That will be cut to 2½ years with good behavior.

While the entire attack was captured on CTA surveillance cameras, no one intervened as Hightower violently assaulted the woman for a quarter-hour, prosecutors revealed during his initial bail hearing. The mid-afternoon assault on a Blue Line train left the woman with nasal, sinus, and facial fractures, officials said.

Hightower didn’t know the woman when they met on the train, and she agreed to perform oral sex in exchange for cash, prosecutors said. The attack allegedly began when she refused to follow through on the agreement after accepting payment.

Prosecutors said Hightower sat on the woman and repeatedly punched her in the head and body aboard the Blue Line train. He continued the attack by kicking and jumping on her face and body. He repeatedly picked her up and threw her onto the train floor, officials said.

The woman eventually managed to crawl onto a platform when the train stopped at Jackson, according to police records. But she returned to the train, and Hightower continued the attack by again beating and kicking her head and body and slamming her onto the floor, prosecutors said.

When she again crawled out of the train, Hightower followed her and kicked her in the head, according to prosecutors.

Hightower agreed to plead guilty to aggravated battery causing great bodily harm in exchange for the sentence from Judge Aleksandra Gillespie. In addition to getting a 50% sentence reduction for good behavior, he will receive 860 days of credit earned while in custody awaiting trial.

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