Friday, December 19, 2014
Plenty of Fish Online Dating Site Leads to a Rape
By Steve Schmadeke; Chicago Tribune
On a cool fall night in 2009, a 38-year-old west suburban woman went out on a date with a public-relations executive she had recently met online.
The woman was supposed to meet up later that night with her younger sister. But after increasingly worrisome texts — including one that said "please help me" — the sister took a cab to the Lincoln Park neighborhood and with the help of staff finally located her in a hotel room, half naked and sobbing, according to testimony at a trial this week.
On Thursday, a Cook County jury took little more than 90 minutes to convict the executive, Ignacio Carrillo, who prosecutors alleged had drugged the woman before raping her.
Carrillo, 40, still faces trial for allegedly sexually assaulting another woman he met through the same dating site — Plenty of Fish — in 2011. He was charged in both alleged sexual assaults only after the second victim came forward.
Assistant State's Attorney Tom Prisco told jurors during closing arguments earlier Thursday that "under the guise of some sort of romantic evening, he would buy them drinks and then rape them."
"It's been a long five years," the victim told the Tribune after the guilty verdict was announced at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. "I'm glad that someone finally listened."
The victim had reported the 2009 assault at a Lincoln Park hotel to police, but she initially declined to move forward with the prosecution of Carrillo, according to trial testimony. However, she changed her mind when police contacted her after the second victim came forward.
According to trial testimony, Carrillo took the woman to two bars on Oct. 15, 2009, and then a hotel at 601 W. Diversey Parkway, but she remembered only bits and pieces of what happened despite drinking only a glass of wine and a single shot.
When the woman realized she was in a hotel room and tried to leave, Carrillo yanked her back inside and raped her, prosecutors said.
The sister eventually found the hotel she was staying at, grabbed her sister and ran as Carrillo lay "smirking" on the bed, according to testimony.
The victim's younger sister told the Tribune she had to scramble after getting the text that her sister needed help.
"I thank the taxicab driver, wherever he is, for getting me there," she said.
Carrillo, who faces 4 to 15 years in prison, showed no emotion but dropped his eyes when a judge ordered him taken into custody after the verdict.
His attorney, Daniel Radakovich, argued to jurors that the 2009 victim reported being raped because she was disgusted with herself after a one night stand with someone she didn't like.
Prosecutors were allowed to put on evidence at the trial about the alleged 2011 sexual assault to allow jurors to weigh Carrillo's propensity to commit the 2009 rape.
The alleged victim in that case, now 36 and a married mother of two, testified earlier this week that Carrillo ordered her a martini while she was in the bathroom at a Lincoln Park bar while they were out on a date.
She said Carrillo grew angry when she took only a sip from the drink. He poured what he said was olive juice into the drink, telling her to stir it in so she got "the roofie," slang for a date rape drug. The woman testified she thought at the time Carrillo was joking.
After going to another bar — where the woman drank only water — Carrillo raped her against the passenger side door of his Porsche convertible, prosecutors allege. He then wanted to take her to a hotel, but she insisted he drive her home.
"He said this could've been a nice evening, but I ruined it," she testified.
The next day the woman went to a hospital, reported being raped and a nurse called police.
Both women identified Carrillo through his profile on the dating site, prosecutors said.