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UPDATE: Additional Assault Charge Placed on Homeless Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Elderly Woman

An 83-year-old woman was trying to help a man she thought was homeless when he attacked her.

Updated 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7

Dennis D. Dodson, 34, was charged with assault on Monday, Oct. 3 in connection to an incident where Dodson threatened to stab an employee in the parking lot area of Home Depot, 7300 W. 159th Street, according to a release from the . The incident happened on Aug. 30 around 9:55 a.m.

Bail was set at $50,000 for the added charge.

Dodson was apparently living behind the store among trees when he attacked and sexually assaulted an 83-year-old woman who tried helping him on Sept. 23, police said.

Updated 5 p.m. Saturday

Police pressed charges on a homeless man for attacking and sexually assaulting an elderly woman Friday morning

Dennis D. Dodson Jr., 34, without a last known address, was charged with one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony. He is scheduled to be in court Monday at the Bridgeview Courthouse for a bond hearing.

Updated 1:05 a.m. Saturday

Orland Park Police have questioned a man suspected of sexually assaulting an 83-year-old woman near 159th Street and Harlem Avenue Friday morning.

officers arrested the man thought to be responsible for the attack in the 17000 block of Harlem Avenue around 9:45 p.m., according to an update from the Orland Park Police Department. Orland Park police investigators then began questioning.

No charges had been filed as of 11:25 p.m. Friday. Investigators were unavailable for comment Saturday morning.

Around 11:15 a.m. Friday, the woman called police and said she was attempting to help a man she thought was homeless, and living in trees behind a department store in the 7300 block of 159th Street, according to an release.

The woman apparently has had previous contact with the man and attempted to help him before.

The man knocked her to the ground and sexually assaulted her before fleeing the scene when he saw an Orland Park police squad car, according to the release.

Police described the man as follows:

  • White
  • 35-45 years old
  • 5 feet 8 inches tall
  • Thin build
  • Curly red hair and red beard
  • Possibly wearing a black leather jacket and carrying a black backpack
  • Missing some teeth

Officials believe the man fled on a black bicycle, according to the report.

The woman was treated at Advocate South Suburban Hospital for minor injuries, police said.

Other law enforcement agencies were called in to search for the man, including the Cook County Sheriff’s K-9 unit, helicopter air unit and Forest Preserve District, as well as police from , and Orland Hills departments.

Julie Shaunnessey September 23, 2011 at 10:18 PM
Thank you for getting this posted! I live very close to this area. I could not figure out what was going on! Thanks and please keep us up to date
Dee Emm September 23, 2011 at 10:55 PM
POS needs to ride his bike down my street. I'll have a personalized a welcoming commitee just waiting for him.
Barb September 24, 2011 at 02:03 AM
Hope they find him!! Right on Dee!! What the heck is wrong w/ people??!??
Kathleen September 24, 2011 at 02:49 AM
How horrible! My heart goes out to this women. I pray they find this SOB and kharma gets him!
Mike September 24, 2011 at 03:48 PM
If he is missing some teeth now, they will all be gone if I get my hands on him first.
L September 24, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Would have been nice to know what was going on when s.w.a.t and blood hound were in front of my yard..when I asked if I should be concerned I was told no. This occurred 3-4 buildings away from me.. I feel horrible for the woman!!! Had anyone of the police officers asked anyone at the time it happened perhaps he would have been caught much earlier..
barbara bean September 24, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Saw the guy in St. Stephens parking lot tues between 4;30 and 5;15 called police last night
Paul September 24, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Don't usually condone the use of excessive police force when arrests are made, but wouldn't it have been a shame if he was injured while being taken in custody.
G September 24, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Paul, I like the way you think. This guy is a major scumbag and should be given a death penalty. I realize he did not kill anyone, but he's a worthless piece of garbage. Why waste air?
G September 24, 2011 at 10:23 PM
Paul, I like the way you think. This guy is a major scumbag and be given a death penalty. I realize he did not kill anyone, but he's a worthless piece of garbage. Why waste air?
Paul September 24, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Pretty sure we could sell tickets for the general public to spend 5 mins along in a room with this garbage. Line might be pretty long.
John Kearns September 25, 2011 at 02:12 AM
They just broke ground on the new homeless shelter and apartments on 167th st just east of cicero last week. Expect more of the same in the South suburbs when all the degenerates decend on our area searcing for the freebies.
G September 25, 2011 at 04:55 AM
No, John. Are you SERIOUS? OMG!
Brian September 25, 2011 at 10:59 AM
Found some goodies in a past records search, It will be interesting to see how this coupled with his conduct in the past sets up the impending sentence. http://docket.webxsol.com/elyria/Last.jsp?Case_id=2003CRA04921&selection=D&type=T
G September 25, 2011 at 01:24 PM
Nice, the address is for Together We Cope.
Brian September 25, 2011 at 11:08 PM
News to me as well, and I am in the 1st ward of OF, just across the street on the north of 167th. http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/opinions/7832087-474/a-bright-spot-for-country-club-hills.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/7814387-418/pads-site-to-aid-homeless.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/7768359-522/long-wait-over-pads-getting-building.html I have mixed feelings on this. There is an increasing homeless problem due to the public housing purge in Chicago, coupled with the downward spiral in economics going on everywhere. There is a need for this, and it is better to have people off the streets. I know the comments of this attracting vagrants, and bad apples are soon to come, and wouldn't be totally without warrant. Lets just hope that PADS offer these to deserving folks who are truly in need, not junkies and bums looking for a free ride. Keeping my fingers crossed that the South Burbs doesn't turn into what the South Loop used to be like.
Megan James September 26, 2011 at 03:03 PM
I'm very happy this guy was caught so quickly! But I am very disturbed that the actions on one bad criminal may cause others to not want to help the innocent, harmless, homeless or needy people who are victims of this ecomony due to no fault of their own. None of us can be completely safe when helping a stranger; homeless or not. But OMG people, not everyone who is homeless is dangerous. Those of us who have jobs and roofs over our heads and food in our houses are very lucky by today's standards. A report just came out last week that about 20% of Chicago area people don't know how they're going to be able to buy food. And with jobless rates and foreclosure rates not going down, it seems to me that there will be more homeless families before the ecomony rebounds for good. So I just ask that everyone put your fear and stereotype-profiling on the back burner. You might find out that the percentage of criminal homeless people is extremely low % compared to those who are safe, just like you and me. They're just trying to get back on their feet after this reccession knocked them down. I would have no problem having a permenant housing structure built by me to help the homeless get back on their feet. I would hope if I'm ever in a situation like them, that there would be a place like that for me to go to, and someone who sees I'm a good person, just needing a little help during this difficult time.
Oak Lawn Gal September 26, 2011 at 10:24 PM
I'm really glad they caught the guy and I feel so sorry for the woman involved. I do agree with Megan that there are many more homeless people now due to the job market, foreclosures and the recession. Many many homeless people are just down on their luck and aren't criminals. I just wish this jerk had not hurt the poor woman who jut wanted to help him.
NANCY GRACE September 27, 2011 at 07:49 AM
I do not agree with the last comments. It is a horrible location. Period.
Oak Lawn Gal September 27, 2011 at 03:53 PM
What would you propose we do with the homeless people then? No matter where you live there are most likely homeless people in your libraries, stores and on your streets. There is a % of homeless who will not go to a shelter because they're afraid for one reason or another. But there are a lot of people who are homeless and are just looking for a safe place to sleep and a warm meal. These people aren't criminals. And for those who are troublemakers that's exactly what the police are here for.
NANCY GRACE September 27, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Kate you are so right! Oak lawn gal...u live in oak lawn I assume? Well build the shelter next to you house if you don't mind homeless people lurking/sleeping near your stores,streets etc.
Oak Lawn Gal September 28, 2011 at 01:13 AM
Tony we have a new PADs opening up at a nearby church. I have no problem with it. I'd rather have the homeless sleeping in a supervised place than wandering the streets. The problem is not the homeless shelters. You're confusing people who are homeless becaue of job loss, foreclosure and other reasons with criminals. Two different groups. The guy who committed this terrible crime was living on the streets of your community. He wasn't in a homeless shelter. It's sad that people can't see the distinction and are branding all homeless as undesirables. The people to worry about don't go anywhere near the shelters and are already in all of our communities.
Sue N. September 28, 2011 at 02:18 PM
Sorry Tony & Kate, but Megan & Oak Lawn Gal are so right! How sad, with today's ecomony, that people are still so willing to classify ALL homeless people as being criminals like Dodson is. Don't people read the news? They just posted an article not that long ago that due to the recession, 1 in 4 Chicago area folks cannot afford food for their families. And with another reccession looming, and foreclosure & unemployment rates not going down, this situation is bound to get worse before it gets better. Maybe you all just need read our Statue of Liberty's inscription again- Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Thank goodness some people still remember that helping your neighbors is one of the things that made this country great!
NANCY GRACE October 08, 2011 at 12:50 PM
Oak lawn gal....the homeless only sleep at PADS overnight and are released in the early morning. So they ARE wandering/loitering our streets. I am not talking about anyone who lost a job,house etc and need a temp place to reside. I am talking about the homeless who are abusing drugs,alcohol etc and are ok with not cleaning up their lives.
Oak Lawn Gal October 08, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Tony some of the new homeless are also using PADs to sleep overnight and get a meal. My concern is that many seem to be lumping them in as criminals just because they're using shelters. And as we've seen the guy who committed this crime lived outside in Orland (and probably other communities).
Dave October 09, 2011 at 12:07 PM
@G I have mixed feelings towards your reply a while back. First off, thank your governor who I did not vote for for getting rid of the death penalty in IL. Though he should be given a very tough sentence for the assault and the type of assault. Though we should not treat every homeless person as a criminal on here. As some of you are pointing out there is a problem with the economy and the job market and people are losing homes. Now if you lost your job and then your home and have no family left to fall back on, how do you think it would feel if rest of society thought you were a piece of trash, or criminal just because you were homeless and/or jobless? The problem with this fellow is just some other personal/mental issues which caused him to act the way he does. So don't judge people by a stereotype. Criminals have a choice, the homeless do not. This guy just happened to be a criminal who is homeless. I wonder what everyone's reactions would be if this story came out with the guy living in a million dollar mansion and he just had a perverted mind. Would you call rich people scumbags or would you even talk about the homeless problem? Learn to not discriminate based on a stereotype.
Resident October 12, 2011 at 04:16 PM
The problem is largely due to the lack of mental health care for the poor. Many of the homeless who abuse drugs etc. don't know how to clean up their lives or don't have the resources to do so. Cleaning up from addiction is not a walk in the park; it requires assistance. Many of those abusing drugs etc. and who are homeless are war veterans. We all need to do our part to help these people help themselves.
Brian October 15, 2011 at 05:33 AM
This article just came up in my feed reader for local news; http://www.suntimes.com/news/7950857-418/homeless-man-accused-in-rape-had-history-of-drifting-arrests.html It is actually one of the better pieces of journalism that I have seen these days. Much better than the average 2bit job most Sun-Times writers are producing Figured I would pass it along for anyone still following this story.

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