Highland Park teen found beaten, unconscious in Chicago
SUN-TIMES MEDIA January 2, 2012 7:14PM
A woman was brutally raped near the Congress Theater on New Year's Eve in the 2100 block of N. Rockwell. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: March 3, 2012 2:07AM
CHICAGO — An 18-year-old Highland Park woman, shut out of a New Year’s Eve concert because she didn’t bring an ID, was sexually assaulted and beaten outside the Congress Theater by six young men Saturday night, according to accounts from police, security guards and a theater employee.
The woman was found beaten, naked and bleeding on a residential sidewalk just up Rockwell Avenue from the theater on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, said the theater employee, who asked that his name not be used.
Natalie Kaplan, communication’s director for High School District 113, confirmed Monday that the victim is a Highland Park High School senior. Kaplan could not say if there were additional Highland Park High School students with her on Saturday night.
“Our thoughts are with the student and her family,” said Kaplan, adding that Highland Park High will make counselors available to students for support when the school reopens today.
The student was listed in critical condition in a coma at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center on Sunday morning, police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez said. But by Sunday afternoon, a detective working on the case said it appears she “is going to be fine.”
Three teens were being questioned as “persons of interest” Sunday, police said. They were later released. No charges had been filed.
British DJ Christopher Mercer, aka “Rusko,” 36, a master of “Dubstep” electronic dance music that is heavy on bass and flashing lights, headlined the concert, which drew about 4,000 people, many as young as 17.
Tickets cost about $35 and were available to people 17 years and older — but ID was required, said Homero Tristan, attorney for the Congress Theater.
The theater employee who asked not to be identified said after the woman was denied entry because she did not have an ID, she went across Milwaukee Avenue and sat down in front of a taco restaurant.
The employee said he saw her walking with six young men who appeared to be in their teens after that.
About 20 minutes later, some of the young men approached the employee to say there was a naked girl on the sidewalk. The employee found it odd that the young men had blood on their pants, he said.
As the employee approached the girl, in front of some residential homes, he called out to security officers to apprehend the young men.
The guards were able to nab three of them, he said. The other three ran away.
An ambulance and police arrived shortly, the employee said.
All this happened about 9:30 p.m. as the opening acts were still performing and before Rusko was to take the stage for the big balloon drop at midnight, Tristan said.
The girl’s handbag landed in the driveway of Assistant Public Cook County Defender Peter Bormes, who said he saw three of the suspects return to the scene and get taken away by police.
In six years there, Bormes said the theater’s security has generally been pretty good and he has seen little violence outside the theater, a hulking once-glorious venue that still attracts some big-name acts such as The Pogues.
The south end of the predominantly Hispanic Logan Square neighborhood abutting Bucktown has been gradually gentrifying and attracting yuppies. The CTA’s Blue Line L rumbles down the other side of Milwaukee Avenue from the theater and stops two blocks away.
Up until late Sunday morning, police could not identify the woman because she had no identification on her. They asked the public for help finding her identity.
The woman’s family was able to identify her later Sunday, the detective said.