HomeLatest NewsEx-Chicago Cop Jailed for Assaulting Transgender Woman in Squad Car

Ex-Chicago Cop Jailed for Assaulting Transgender Woman in Squad Car

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A former Chicago police officer was sentenced to a year in federal prison after sexually assaulting a transgender woman while on duty in his squad vehicle. The incident occurred on March 19th, 2019. It has raised concerns about police misconduct and put the Windy City under increased scrutiny.

James Sajdak, who pleaded guilty to the crime in question last year under a plea agreement, was sentenced Friday.

James Sajdak (65) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating civil rights in the West Side encounter on March 5, 2019 James Sajdak, 65, was originally facing up to life in prison after being charged with several felonies, but his plea agreement reached with prosecutors reduced the sentence to 12 months.

Sajdak’s maximum sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge John Tharp, who said that Sajdak had not only hurt the victim of the assault he committed on the night in question but also further tarnished the public perception of police officers, at a moment when distrust for law enforcement is growing and threatens the fabric of our society.

Tharp explained that if the public cannot rely on sworn police officers to enforce the law, no one will have any faith in it. And then we are all in big trouble. “When the rule of laws has been undermined and degraded, chaos is what remains.”

Tharp said that the sentence was meant to send a clear message to other officers “who might be driving late at night through a prostitution-heavy area, telling them it is not worth it.”

In the courtroom, the former officer apologized for his actions with tears in his eyes. He said that his “weakness” and “bad judgment” led him to assault the victim. It is important to note that he didn’t apologize in person to the victim.

The details are chilling. The former police officer forced the woman to enter his vehicle by threatening arrest and then used his position to force her to obey his orders.

According to Sajdak’s plea agreement with the prosecutors, Sajdak was driving a marked squad vehicle, on duty and in uniform the night of the incident, when he saw the victim walking around West Fifth Avenue and Kolmar Avenues. “He briefly activated the sirens.”

According to the plea agreement, Sajdak ordered the victim to get into his vehicle. After she initially refused, Sajdak threatened to arrest her, saying, “You can either get in front or in back.”

The plea said that the victim got into the squad car’s front passenger seat and Sajdak then drove to a deserted lot in an isolated area. He “locked the doors of the car, closed his laptop computer, and turned off the police radio,” according to the plea.

He bit the victim at one point and caused an injury while holding the victim in the vehicle “for his sexual pleasure.” The plea read: “After the sexual attack, Sajdak tried to give Victim A cash.”

Tim Grace, Sajdak’s defense lawyer, requested probation for his clients, noting that Sajdak had led a “pretty noble” life, but “placed personal gratifications, impulses, and his duty over his own.”

The lawyer also tried to argue that Sajdak and the victim exchanged “money” to prove that they were not forced to meet.

The judge did not buy it. Sajdak now faces at least some accountability for his actions. It does raise some questions, however, about the severity and the punishment of Sajdak’s crime.

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