Man accused of kidnapping teenager and raping her for months in his Chicago basement had been arrested 52 times previously

News & Politics

A man who was arrested for allegedly kidnapping a teenager and repeatedly raping her in his basement had been previously arrested 52 times, according to Illinois police.

Cook County prosecutors said 48-year-old Derek Swift drove up to the 15-year-old girl on Dec. 6 while she was walking to her home in Chicago.

The girl said that he kept asking her if she wanted a ride until she relented and got into his car. Once inside the car, she was allegedly pressured to drink alcohol and take drugs until she agreed and then went unconscious.

She said that she awoke naked in the man’s basement apartment and was kept against her will for nearly five months while she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Swift. She hit her 16th birthday while being allegedly held captive.

“She is a child who was being traumatized in the most unimaginable way.”

The victim said she was left alone by her captor for days at a time and although he left a phone with her, she said he threatened to kill her if she tried to leave and also to kill anyone she tried to call with the phone.

She only called the police after being able to find the address of the apartment from a piece of mail on April 29.

Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord said that police rescued the girl and saw on the phone that it was only used to make calls between her and Swift.

When police interviewed the man, he allegedly admitted to picking the girl up but claimed that he believed she was 20 years old. He also claimed that their sex was consensual.

McCord argued that whatever age Swift believed the girl to be, it was immaterial to the charges he faced. Swift is charged with one count each of aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, criminal sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Swift’s defense attorney asked why the girl didn’t simply leave the situation, but McCord answered that she had been allegedly threatened and beaten by Swift for trying to escape twice.

“She’s now a child who had been in this basement, fed pills, raped every day, and threatened that he would kill her, threatened he would kill her loved ones,” the prosecutor argued. “She didn’t say anything, but how can she? She is a child. She is a child who was being traumatized in the most unimaginable way.”

At a bail hearing, police said that Swift had been arrested 52 times in his life. Judge Susana Ortiz said he was a safety risk and ordered him to remain behind bars at the Cook County Jail. His next court hearing is scheduled for May 21.

Here’s a video about the incident:

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