15-year sentence for man who sexually assaulted 2 Chicago women in the 1990s and got caught 25 years later

CHICAGO — More than a quarter-century after two women were sexually assaulted during separate attacks on the city’s North Side, their assailant has finally been sentenced to prison. The cases remained unsolved for years until advances in forensic DNA analysis allowed investigators to identify the attacker. It took them eight more years to track him down.

On Thursday, that man, 60-year-old Juan Roldan, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal sexual assault before Judge Michael McHale, according to court records. McHale handed him seven years for one attack and eight for the other. The sentences will be served consecutively.

Roldan is from Chicago and lived here at the time of the crimes, authorities said. The women, who were 28 and 22 years old at the time of the assaults, are now 55 and 48. 

On March 4, 1997, Roldan broke into the older woman’s home in the 3300 block of North Kilpatrick in Portage Park and sat on the edge of her bed as she slept, officials said. Believing he was one of her children, she told him to lie down.

In the Lakeview case, Juan Roldan allegedly accosted the woman in this alley on the 1000 block of West Wellington, near the Wellington Brown Line station. (Chicago Police Department, Google)

But when the dark figure stood up, she immediately realized it was a grown man.

Prosecutors said Roldan pulled the woman to the floor, put his hand over her mouth, and punched her when she tried to look at him. She remembered he reeked of cigarettes and alcohol. He raped her and left.

The woman immediately filed a police report and went to a hospital for treatment and evidence collection. Several weeks later, while undergoing therapy and on medication for the attack, she picked a different man out of a photo line-up. DNA testing would eventually exclude that man as the attacker, according to prosecutors.

Months later, around 1:40 a.m. on January 25, 1998, a 22-year-old woman was walking near Sheffield and Oakdale in Lakeview when a man in an old Chevy with a loud muffler offered her a ride. She declined, and he drove away.

He was waiting for her at the mouth of an alley when she turned onto the 1000 block of West Wellington. Prosecutors said Roldan grabbed the woman by the arm and forced her into his car.

The passenger seat was already reclined. She tried to get out, but he kept locking the doors. He sexually assaulted her twice as she fought and tried to push him off. He let her go when he was done.

She sought help immediately, filed a police report, and went to a hospital for treatment.

DNA testing technology at the time could only confirm that a man’s DNA had been found on the second victim’s clothing. But more complete profiles emerged as science advanced. At some point, investigators put the DNA profiles from the two attacks into CODIS, the FBI’s national DNA database, which didn’t even exist until ten months after the Lakeview attack.

In 2014, after Ohio officials entered Roldan’s DNA profile into the national database following a domestic battery arrest, Chicago police were alerted to the match.

A Cook County judge issued an arrest warrant for Roldan that same year. He remained free until a U.S. Marshals Service task force scooped him up in Cleveland two years ago.

About Tim Hecke 365 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com