Convicted sex offender charged with child abduction July 14, By Jeremy Gorner Tribune reporter Jeffrey Jewitt Illinois Sex Offender registry A convicted sex offender with a long history of trying to lure young girls to his car was arrested again earlier this week and charged with child abduction, authorities said today.
Authorities said a year-old boy was riding his bike on Bloomingdale and Thatcher avenues in the near west suburb at about 3: July 5 when a silver car pulled up near him. The suspect tried to lure the boy inside, authorities said. Do you want a ride? The boy was frightened and rode off, he said. Two days later, Jewitt tried to lure the same boy inside his car again without success, Fagiano said.
Elmwood Park police compiled a composite sketch of the suspect and distributed it to a number of other law enforcement agencies. Des Plaines police believed the sketch resembled Jewitt, who lives in that northwest suburb, Fagiano said. The boy identified Jewitt in a police lineup earlier this week, Fagiano said. Jewitt is charged with child abduction for trying to lure the boy in his car and loitering in a public park as a sexual predator.
Since , Jewitt has been convicted four times of exposing himself to young girls or attempting to lure them into a vehicle. He is currently serving 30 months probation for the attempted abduction of an year-old girl and for the sexual exploitation of another child during two separate incidents on Chicago's Northwest Side. A Tribune investigation found light punishment and lack of treatment allowed Jewitt to stay on the streets as his behavior grew more aggressive and his criminal record escalated.
The Tribune documented police reports of attempted child abduction by a stranger during a two-year period but found only 30 prosecutions that resulted in just seven men serving time in prison or jail. The prosecution rate was dramatically worse in Chicago's African-American neighborhoods, the Tribune found. Ramiro Landa, the father of one of Jewitt's previous victims, said he wasn't surprised by the new arrest. After the Tribune's investigation last year, authorities pledged to toughen punishments for child predators, but since then no apparent action has been taken.
Once again, Landa on Thursday called for stricter penalties to protect children. Jewitt grew up in a middle-class Des Plaines neighborhood and was a star hockey player, but in he was convicted of disorderly conduct for allegedly luring a 5-year-old girl into a park storage room. Court records in that case state Jewitt also allegedly exposed himself briefly to another 4-year-old girl at a Glenview skating rink at about the same time, but her parents did not want to press charges.
Then in , Jewitt was convicted of misdemeanor public indecency after allegedly fondling himself in front of a year-old girl riding a scooter. When Des Plaines police questioned him about that incident, Jewitt said he targeted young girls because "it's less risky of getting caught," police and court records show.
In , Jewitt was caught on a Chicago neighborhood security camera as he stalked an year-old and tried to lure her into his car while she walked home from school. While police were investigating that case, Jewitt struck again, using his car to block the path of another year-old girl trying to get her into the vehicle. Both girls ran away terrified. Jewitt was later arrested after Chicago police spotted him cruising around a neighborhood school in his red Nissan.
He pleaded guilty to child abduction in one case and sexual exploitation of the other girl. In recent years, Jewitt has held a number of jobs including as a beer delivery man and a nightclub bouncer. In lengthy interviews with WGN and the Tribune, Jewitt called his behavior "horrible and wrong" and said he was taking responsibility for his actions and struggling to rehabilitate himself.
Jewitt is set to appear in bond court in Friday in the Maybrook courthouse. Tribune reporters Gary Marx and David Jackson contributed to this story.