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Man Uses Sword to Sexually Assault Woman in River Forest: Police

The woman escaped and was able to call police, who arrested a suspect and charged him with felony sexual assault.

A Chicago man has been charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault after River Forest Police said he attacked a female acquaintance in her home with a sword. 

Kenneth W. Merrills, 20, of the 6000 block of North Richmond, was arrested around 7:45 a.m. Thursday in the 8000 block of Lake Street in River Forest, police said.

The victim, 43, called police after escaping from her home, where police said Merrills sexually and physically assaulted her with the sword during the late evening Wednesday and early morning Thursday.

She told police that Merrills was still inside her home and armed with the sword.

River Forest and Forest Park police entered the home and took him into custody without incident, according to the report. 

The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and released Thursday. 

“We applaud the courage of the victim to call 911, especially after such a violent attack,” Deputy Chief James O’Shea said in a statement. “The responding and investigating officers worked diligently to secure proper criminal charges were filed and to communicate with the immediate neighborhood that the sole offender in this attack was no longer a threat to the community.”

The Cook County State’s Attorney charged Merrills with aggravated criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony, and unlawful restraint, a Class 3 felony. 

Merrills appeared in court Friday, where bond was set at $15,000. He was found to be in violation of existing court probation, resulting in a no bond finding in the earlier case. 

His next court date is set for March 21 in Maywood. 

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Police Blotter information is provided by local law enforcement agencies. Charges are not evidence of guilt. They are a record of police actions taken on a given day, and persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. If you or a family member are charged or cited and the case is subsequently adjudicated, we encourage you to notify the editor. We will verify and report the outcome.

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