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Suspect in Uptown robbery, sexual assault held without bail

Tribune reporter

A recent parolee charged with sexually assaulting and robbing a woman in Uptown on Sunday was called a "danger to the community" and ordered held without bail by a judge this afternoon.

Jason Gurneau, 32, is accused of beating up, assaulting and robbing a 32-year-old woman in the 4400 block of North Sheridan Road, according to police.

Gurneau was released on parole in October, according to state records. A witness told WGN-TV that the woman, who lives nearby, was just arriving home when she was attacked.

According to his public defender, Gurneau is homeless and gets food at shelters and is a high school dropout. His attorney said Gurneau also suffers from hypertension and a mental disorder and does not work. Judge James Brown ordered Gurneau be treated at Cermak Hospital at Cook County Jail.

Brown said there was proof that Gurneau is a "danger to the community,'' and denied bail.

In court, Gurneau did not speak and was wearing long black shorts with white stripes on the side and a white long-sleeved t-shirt and slippers. After his arrest, Gurneau told authorities he should have "finished the [expletive] off" and also said he "should have beaten the [expletive] out of her," according to Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Dickler.

During the attack, Gurneau slammed the victim's head to the ground after pushing her from behind, Dickler said. When she began screaming, he stuck his fingers down her throat. He hit her in the head and face, grabbed her purse and began to leave, but turned around and choked the woman, Dickler said.

He slammed her against a building, ripped off her undergarments and sexually assaulted her.

Officers were called to the Uptown apartment building about 1:40 a.m. Sunday after someone called 911 and reported a sex assault taking place.

A neighbor referred to in court told WGN-TV that he was just getting home from work when he heard a woman crying out for help and went downstairs from his apartment to see the woman being attacked on the sidewalk.

When officers got to the scene, the witness went up to them and pointed out the man who was trying to leave on a bicycle, police said in a release. The officers told the attacker to stop and ran after him when he kept going.

The neighbor, who had heard screams and saw him, pushed Gurneau off a bike as the man tried to flee, prosecutors said today.  The neighbor was able to get her purse back. "The neighbor never lost sight of him,'' said Dickler.

Gurneau was arrested soon after. One police officer was injured when Gurneau fought officers while they arrested him.

The woman suffered a broken nose, swelling to her face and eye, lacerations to her face and mouth, and bruising to her neck, said Dickler. One of her eyes was swollen shut and she also suffered extensive injuries from the sexual attack.

The woman was taken to a hospital and her condition stabilized, according to police.

Gurneau, of the 1000 block of West Lawrence Avenue, was charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated battery, and two counts of resisting a police officer.

Gurneau was paroled Oct. 5 on a 2011 forgery charge for which he was sentenced to two years in prison.

He first served time in prison starting in 2002 on a drug charge, and since then has spent time in prison on burglary, aggravated battery and impersonating a police officer charges, according to state records.

Tribune reporter Liam Ford contributed

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