Weather Updates

$1 mil bond for parolee charged in River North bookstore sex assault

Michael Robers/ phofrom Chicago Police.

Michael Roberson / photo from Chicago Police.

storyidforme: 58195935
tmspicid: 21211720
fileheaderid: 9951546

Updated: November 21, 2013 5:41PM

A parolee charged with sexually assaulting a woman at a River North bookstore over the summer was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail Thursday.

Following the Aug. 6 assault, Michael Roberson threw himself against glass windows several times after he was chased around the store by the victim’s bat-wielding husband, Cook County prosecutors said.

Roberson, 30, was eventually able to escape after snatching keys on the counter and unlocking the door, Assistant State’s Attorney Maura White said.

The 42-year-old woman was attacked after she let Roberson into the closed store when he told her he left his cell phone in the restroom, White said.

The woman escorted Roberson to the back of the bookstore to the bathrooms used by customers and patrons of nearby businesses, White said.

When Roberson seemed to be taking a long, the woman knocked on the men’s restroom.

Roberson opened the door and told the woman he had a knife and a gun, White said.

Then, he allegedly started disrobing and smoked crack cocaine.

Next, Roberson sexually assaulted the woman and put her in a chokehold, causing her to lose her breath, White said.

Roberson made the woman wash herself in the sink with soap and water. But he left his clothes, including the underwear where authorities were able to find his DNA, White said.

At some point, the woman screamed out for her husband who was also in the store.

When Roberson opened the bathroom door and saw the 36-year-old husband there, he punched him in the face, White said.

The two men struggled before the woman’s husband got the bat and went after Roberson, who was captured on surveillance video coming in and out of the store and being chased, White said.

The victim and her husband, who identified Roberson, were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment, White said.

Roberson was on parole at the time of the alleged attack on a felony theft conviction for which he was sentenced to two years in prison, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

In that case, Roberson was arrested Nov. 15, 2011, after a woman recognized him as the man who stole her iPhone at an Old Town restaurant less than an hour earlier, the Sun-Times Media Wire reported at the time.

Roberson apparently started talking to the woman, then grabbed her phone and ran, police said at the time.

Roberson had two other iPhones with him when he was arrested. One was a demo phone taken from a store at State and Chicago; and the second was stolen from a 45-year-old man who left his jacket on the table of a business near State and Chestnut, police said.

Roberson previously served prison time following convictions for robbery and aggravated battery against a firefighter.

Roberson, of the 7900 block of South Ingleside Avenue, was also held on a separate outstanding warrant, police said.


Twitter: @rummanahussain

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.