Editor’s note: This story contains descriptions of sexual assault and graphic violence. If you are a rape victim and need assistance, please call RAINN at 800-856-HOPE.
LITTLE VILLAGE – A man accused of brutally beating and raping a Polish teenager in West Town last summer said he plans to accept a plea deal that will send him to prison for 30 years — but not until after the holidays.
Rufus Carson, 38, is expected to plead guilty to three felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm Jan. 29, when the case is up for a status hearing.
The victim’s family wants a plea deal so she does not have to return to Chicago from Poland and relive the horrific attack during a jury trial, a court advocate previously said.
The 18-year-old victim was visiting family in Chicago from Poland when she was raped and viciously beaten by Carson, prosecutors said. After coming out of a coma with a traumatic brain injury, the victim spent months in a rehab facility where she relearned how to walk and talk following the attack in August 2018.
According to Julie Sawicki, who is a friend of the victim’s family and a court advocate, Carson told prosecutors he didn’t want to plead guilty Monday because he wanted to be in Cook County Jail so his family can visit him for Christmas.
If the deal goes through, Carson would have to serve 85 percent of his sentence, which would be 25.5 years. If Carson changes his mind, as he did when first offered the plea deal in October, a jury trial would begin March 20.
Sawicki, who was texting the victim’s father in Poland from court, said the victim’s family wants Carson to take the plea deal.
“They want to spare her the trial,” Sawicki said, explaining it would likely retraumatize the victim.
Carson was offered the same plea deal in October that he said he will accept next month, but at that time he wanted a 25-year deal. The victim rejected that deal.
Prosecutor Mikki Miller would not comment Monday but previously said that if the case goes to trial, Carson faces up to 150 years in prison — something he should consider when deciding to accept the 30-year plea deal. She was cautiously optimistic Carson will not change his mind once the next court date comes up.
“It’s hard to know how a guy like this thinks. He’s a monster,” Sawicki said, pointing out that in October Carson attempted to wander around the courtroom and had to be controlled by sheriff’s officers. On Monday, Carson, dressed in a beige Department of Corrections jumpsuit, was surrounded by four Cook County Sheriff’s officers in court.
Sawicki was joined by three other supporters of the victim in court Monday. All dressed in red in solidarity with the victim because red is prominent in the Polish flag and because red is the color of outrage, Sawicki said.
Prosecutors allege that around 7 a.m. Aug. 26, 2018, the victim was walking from the CTA Chicago Blue Line “L” station to the Starbucks at the corner of Ogden and Grand avenues in West Town.
In a previous court appearance, Miller told Cook County Judge Thaddeus Wilson video surveillance from the CTA and neighboring properties “clearly” shows Carson grabbing the victim, putting her into a “chokehold” and dragging her into an alley “clearly against her will.”
While the footage does not visually capture what happened next, the camera’s audio component recorded the attack, Miller said.
The audio feed begins with about 10 minutes of the victim screaming, as well sounds of the victim’s head banging against the concrete ground. During the attack, Carson beat the victim repeatedly and raped her multiple times, Miller said.
After 10 minutes, video footage resumes, showing Carson standing on Ogden Avenue, “adjusting his pants” and looking both ways, Miller said.
Carson then disappears from view again and rapes and beats the woman for an additional 10 minutes, Miller said.
After the attack, Carson returned to the Blue Line, where additional CTA footage showed him taking off his shirt, sweating and appearing “out of breath,” Miller said.
Witnesses found the victim unconscious and near death about an hour and a half later.
For a brief few seconds, the victim regained consciousness and told an EMT, “I was raped,” before slipping back into unconsciousness.
She then spent several days in a coma at Northwestern Hospital, where she was treated for traumatic brain injuries, shattered facial bones and lesions.
After that, she spent several months in a rehabilitation facility, where she relearned how to walk and talk.
Her earliest attempts at speaking were screams of terror while lying in a fetal position, Miller said.
In addition to video and audio footage capturing the attack, Miller said Carson’s DNA matched the rape kit. When he was arrested 24 hours later, the victim’s blood was on his clothes, Miller said.
Carson has five prior felony convictions, including two for burglary, two for narcotics with intent to sell and one for possessing a stolen vehicle, police said.
He also has a pending charge in McHenry County from when he was accused of holding his penis in front of his girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter, Miller said.
Carson was out on bond when the West Town attack took place.
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