Cabbie charged with sex assault after neighbor hears screams
BY KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporter April 15, 2012 3:46PM
Admon Shasho / Photo from Chicago Police
Updated: May 17, 2012 8:11AM
A 21-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted in a Lincoln Square alley in the early hours of Saturday didn’t stop screaming for help, prosecutors say.
Her cries were heard by a sleeping resident who grabbed a shovel and ran barefoot to her aid.
And within minutes, architect Ron Psenka, 48, had helped police arrest the alleged rapist.
Cabbie Admon Shasho, 27, of the 6400 block of North Mozart — an Iraqi immigrant — was charged with attempted robbery and criminal sexual assault and was Sunday ordered held at the Cook County Jail on bail of $700,000.
Prosecutors say Shasho had threatened to kill his victim before Psenka intervened.
“It was after 4 a.m. and I was asleep on the couch,” Psenka said later Sunday. “When my wife woke me and told me that a woman was being attacked in the alley outside, I leapt to my feet and asked her to get me a bat. But there wasn’t time so I ran out the back door and grabbed a shovel.”
Psenka said he saw Shasho attacking the woman in the alley on the 2300 block of Sunnyside, but that “as soon as he saw me coming, he ran — I guess he was scared of the shovel.”
While his wife dialed 911, Psenka said he first checked on the victim’s well-being, then, shoeless and wearing just the shorts and T-shirt he’d been sleeping in, chased Shasho three and a half blocks through Welles Park to Western.
At one point Shasho grabbed a stick to fight, but apparently winded by the chase, he was arrested by police near Western, Psenka said.
Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Bob Groebner said the 21-year-old victim was walking home from a bar, listening to her iPod when Shasho spotted her, parked his cab, followed her on foot down the alley and tried to rob her.
Shasho unsuccessfully tried to steal the woman’s iPod and purse before forcing her to the ground and sexually assaulting her, Groebner said. He tried to cover her mouth and told her he had a knife when she cried for help, Groebner added. The victim — who was treated at Illinois Masonic Hospital — Psenka and another witness all identified Shasho at the scene, and Shasho later gave a statement that “contained admissions,” Groebner said.
Shasho spoke in court Sunday only to indicate that he did not want the Iraqi embassy informed of his arrest. He was cut off by Judge Edward Harmening as he said, “I told the truth, sir,” although it was not clear what he was referring to.
He came to Chicago when he was 12 and lives with his mom, his attorney said.