As of Thursday afternoon, 47 people have chipped in more than $2,200 toward the day-old fundraiser’s $20,000 goal for the victim they are calling “Warrior Woman.”
“So many people were outraged, and we wanted to know if there was anything we can do to help this girl,” said Sarah Decorah, a regular customer at a business where the woman works.
The woman, who had been walking from the CTA Chicago Blue Line “L” station to a West Town business at the time of the attack around 7 a.m. last Sunday, suffered traumatic brain injuries and her facial bones were shattered. Prosecutors said the woman is in “a concussed state, unable to speak or see,” according to the Sun-Times.
Rufus Carson, 37, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated criminal sexual assault in the attack, police said.
Judge David Navarro, who deemed Carson “a threat to society,” ordered him held without bail, according to Lauren Weber, a volunteer court advocate and CAPS facilitator for the West Town police beat where the attack occurred.
Weber said Carson was out on bond when he nearly murdered the victim in West Town.
“People are angry he was out [of jail] given the fact he is currently undergoing a case involving sexual exploitation of a child, that was the shocking part,” Weber said.
Carson had been released from jail in McHenry County, where he had five prior felonies and seven failures to appear in court, she said. In the latest incident, he allegedly masturbated in front of his girlfriend’s child.
Decorah and another regular customer, Beth Bond, started the GoFundMe to help the young woman with whatever expenses she will face, to augment any health insurance she might have.
“We’re hoping to create a wave of generosity from the community to support this ‘Warrior Woman’ through her road to recovery and healing,” the campaign states.
“She’s talkative, always smiling, just very sweet, and would say ‘you are welcome’ and ‘how are you today?’,” said Decorah, who frequented the victim’s place of employment for the past six months.
Weber, the court advocate, also knew the victim. She described her as “very friendly and sweet.”
The woman’s jaw and nose were broken in the attack, and her face suffered severe swelling, a police source said.
The victim was pulled into an alley in the 1200 block of West Ohio Street and brutally attacked and raped behind a construction fence. She had been followed from the “L” station by Carson, police said on Tuesday when they announced his arrest. Two construction workers found the woman in a pool of blood when they arrived to work about 90 minutes after the attack, a police source said.
Ahead of the woman’s arrival at the “L” platform, assistant state’s attorney Nancee Hofheimer said Carson was videotaped by CTA surveillance cameras pacing at the station and touching himself through his pants. After the woman got off the train, Carson jogged after her and followed her down onto an escalator, where a surveillance camera recorded a clear picture of his face, the Sun-Times reported.
When he was interviewed by detectives, Carson identified himself as the man on the Blue Line platform and walking south on Ogden directly behind the woman, prosecutors said.
“Thank, God the construction workers were working on Sunday,” Decorah said.
Residents who live in the vicinity of where the incident occurred are upset that it happened so close to them, where anyone could have been walking, Weber said.
“As neighbors, we are coming together to create a space where love, care and concern can be expressed, and funds can be donated to help cover medical costs,” Decorah wrote on the GoFundMe page.