Man who tried to sexually assault 2 women in 2 days could have been arrested days earlier, but a Chicago police supervisor decided to let him go: report

Jermaine Fowlkes (Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO — A Chicago man accused of trying to sexually assault two women in two days could have been arrested nearly two weeks before the attacks after three women accused him of grabbing them in Marquette Park. But a Chicago police sergeant decided not to take him into custody, a CPD report said, and he went on to commit even worse attacks, officials say.

Jermaine Fowlkes, 35, is now detained as a public safety risk, charged with two counts of attempted criminal sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated battery for attacking two women he did not know on May 22 and May 23.

But a Chicago police report reveals that police had a chance to arrest Fowlkes on May 11 after three women reported that he grabbed them in separate incidents as they walked inside Marquette Park, 6743 South Kedzie. In each case, Fowlkes grabbed a woman’s arm around 7:30 a.m., until a Chicago Park District security guard took Fowlkes to the ground and detained him until CPD arrived, the report said.

But the police let him go. Fowlkes “was not placed into custody” at the direction of a sergeant, the report said. Fowlkes was supposed to be wearing a GPS device at the time as he awaited trial for a felony resisting case he picked up in Park Forest on April 15, according to court records.

Less than two weeks later, on May 22, Fowlkes grabbed a 43-year-old woman as she got out of her car to go to work in the 2600 block of West 71st Street, prosecutors say. He put the woman in a bear hug, pressed his groin against her buttocks, and tried to drag her into an alley, according to a detention petition filed by the state.

One of the woman’s co-workers, a 45-year-old woman, heard the victim screaming and pushed Fowlkes off of the victim, officials said. The co-worker also took a picture of the attacker, which she gave to the police.

Around 6:10 a.m. the next day, just one block away from the previous incident, Fowlkes grabbed a 62-year-old woman by the arm as she took out the garbage and tried to pull her to the ground, the detention petition said. She screamed for help as Fowlkes pulled her shirt up and her pants down, according to prosecutors. Officials said that a passing motorist got out of their car, yelled at Fowlkes, and followed him as he left.

About 20 minutes later, Fowlkes allegedly grabbed a woman by the arm as she left a gas station in the 7100 block of South California, a CPD report said. She broke free and took a picture of him, which she gave to the police.

Police arrested Fowlkes about 90 minutes later at his home after his mother called 911 to report that she believed he was wanted for recent incidents in the area, a CPD report said.

Judge Susana Ortiz granted the state’s detention petition, saying Fowlkes had “ambushed” each victim and he “had to be pulled off of them by witnesses.”

We asked a CPD spokesperson today why police did not arrest Fowlkes when they had a chance on May 11. The spokesperson did not answer the question directly, saying, “Details of the alleged incident involving three women is currently under investigation by Area 1 Detectives.”

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About Tim Hecke 332 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