NEWS

Man arrested for allegedly assaulting teen

Frank Radosevich II

Detectives arrested a 21-year-old South Peoria man who allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted a young girl as she walked to Trewyn Middle School on Wednesday morning.

Monterius Hinkle remained in the Peoria County Jail pending a bond hearing and faces a charge of aggravated criminal sexual assault.

The 16-year-old victim was walking to school when Hinkle approached her near West Garden Street and South Folkers Avenue, less than a quarter-mile north of the school, according to a news release from the Police Department.

There about 8:15 a.m., Hinkle reportedly started a brief conversation with her until the victim began walking away. As she tried to leave, Hinkle grabbed the girl and "forcibly walked" her to his home at 2805 W. Malone St., police stated.

Authorities allege Hinkle assaulted the teen. The victim was able to leave Hinkle’s home and walk to a friend’s house to report the attack to police. Whether she escaped or Hinkle allowed her to leave was not made public. Police did say the victim knew Hinkle only by a nickname and later identified him as her attacker.

The victim was treated for her injuries as OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

Several hours after learning of the assault, officers searched the home and found Hinkle hiding in his basement. He was arrested there without incident.

Hinkle was also arrested in August and booked on charges of criminal sexual assault and again in September for two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, but according to circuit clerk records he was never charged for either crime.

District 150 spokeswoman Stacey Shangraw said a letter was sent home with the 450 or so Trewyn students Wednesday alerting parents of the attack. A similar note will be sent home with Manual High School students today, Shangraw said.

"You can’t talk to kids about safety enough," said Shangraw, adding students should walk in groups, be aware of their surroundings and avoid speaking with strangers.

The letter, signed by Principal Cheryl Ellis, stated support services were provided to pupils and the victim’s family.

The attack comes on the heels of two other sexual assaults in South Peoria; one from September and the other from October.

On Sept. 14, a 16-year-old Manual High School student was forced to perform oral sex on a man who followed her from the 2000 block of West Ann Street. More than a month later, another man on Oct. 28 forced a 12-year-old Trewyn student into an alley in the 1700 block of Stanley Street and fondled her at knifepoint. Both crimes remained unsolved.

On the morning of Feb. 21, a 13-year-old schoolgirl walking next to railroad tracks that run parallel between Rock Island and Lake View avenues was raped at gunpoint. Her attacker also is at large.

According to data from the Police Department, officers handled 86 reports of criminal sexual assault last year, an increase of 10 percent from 2006.

Frank Radosevich II can be reached at (309) 686-3142 or fradosevich@pjstar.com.