Victim corrects self; No rape at Ronan Park

Chicago Police 17th District Commander Michael Mealer told an Albany Park community meeting Tuesday at Our Lady of Mercy parish hall that fears generated by a reported rape in Ronan Park and CTA Brown Line assaults were overblown. While admitting that some violent crime associated with the CAP districts near the Brown Line were up, Mealer noted that the increase was one crime over a base of four or five incidents of similar crime in 2009.

That could be interpreted, he noted, as a 20 to 25 percent increase in crime in those CAPs districts. “But in general crime is going down,” Mealer told the crowd of about 120 residents.

Mealer noted unofficial e-mails that share crime information create a sense of increased violence. He said as crime information is passed in this manner, the community acts to amplify the crime and compress time so that crimes that happen over a span of years appear to have all happened in a few weeks.

“We all played the telephone game in school,” Mealer said, “people add things to e-mails. But when we explore things we find things added to these e-mails. The community feels unsafe. It turns a minor incident into major incident.”

Mealer specifically addressed a rape reported by the Bulldog.

A victim claimed Ronan Park was the site of a violent sexual assault. Police now say the crime happened elsewhere.

A victim claimed Ronan Park was the site of a violent sexual assault. Police now say the crime happened elsewhere. Credit: Patrick Boylan

“There was a sexual assault that was reported by a woman that stated she was sexually assaulted in Ronan Park,” Mealer told the Bulldog, “the detectives determined that the incident did not occur in Ronan Park, it happened elsewhere.”

“She had personal reasons for not placing the incident where it actually occurred,” Mealer said.

Mealer said a rumor the woman was a prostitute was not true.

“We have no security concerns” for Ronan Park. “It’s not a problem park,” Mealer told the Bulldog.

The Bulldog asked the Commander about the incident, noting it was among the news outlets that reported on the rape. Mealer told the Bulldog the police realized the first report of the incident was wrong on Monday, April 12.

Mealer defended the initial e-mail blast that included the Bulldog, “we did the right thing. We weren’t sure and we wanted to make sure the community was secure. Now we have a problem, how do we let people know that things aren’t the way they are?”

During the meeting Mealer had repeated statements that three incidents, reported by the CenterSquareLedger and the Bulldog, were two incidents. In an exclusive interview Mealer noted that he was not aware of a third incident related to the Brown Line that was also reported by the Bulldog. That incident was reported in the 19th police district, he noted.

[The Bulldog has a set of ethical guidelines, which you the reader can see. These ethical guidelines dictate how the Bulldog reports all its stories. Each crime incident reported by the Bulldog was verified prior to being reported. That verification in the case of the Ronan Park rape included a Chicago Police Crime alert.]

The Brown Line Rockwell station is located at 4648 N Rockwell, Chicago, IL. The Brown Line Francisco station is located at 4648 N Francisco, Chicago, IL. Ronan Park is located at 3300 W Argyle, Chicago, IL. Our Lady of Mercy is located at 4432 N Troy, Chicago, IL.

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  4. Are Brown Line trains smaller? No says CTA. More crowded? You decide
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Patrick Boylan

About Patrick Boylan

Patrick grew up near LaFollette Park on the West Side. He contends that the very best Italian beef sandwiches are made on the West Side and has a strange love of the flat pizza from that part of the city. Patrick led The Bulldog to win seven journalism awards in 2011, including four awards to Patrick as a solo or a team member. He is very proud of The Dog's coverage of politics and schools in the neighborhood. Patrick wrote for the Times of Northwest Indiana as a stringer covering Cook County Government, for the Chicago Tribune as a stringer on the Chicago Wolves and for ChicagoNow as a writer before starting The Dog. He wrote for four years for as a media commentator and spent about 20 years in operations at city newspapers, including nine years as owner of his own distribution company. Prior to that he spent about nine years in public relations. Patrick has a Masters degree from the University of Colorado. He attended Eastern Illinois University for undergrad and Weber High School and St. Peter Canisius grammar school. The two-flat he owns was built in 1912 and has never been featured, to his knowledge, in any major motion pictures despite having a way-cool garden. Patrick purchased the property in 1994 and "couldn't afford to buy it now." His daughter is a college student in California. He lives in the house with his wife, Jane, and two cats who often sit in on his phone interviews.

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