The Evanston man who was charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and forcing her into prostitution this September may have been trying to turn his life around.
Donzell Mintz, 21, was recently hired at Curt’s Café in Evanston, according to National Public Radio (NPR). The nonprofit restaurant at 2922 Central St. offers employment, job training and job placement assistant to young adults who have come in contact with the juvenile justice system.
In Mintz’s case, he was on parole for a 2011 conviction of aggravated robbery, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
“He went on over 20 interviews and no one would hire him because of his background, because of his lack of education, because of his inability to write, founder Susan Trieschmann told NPR. “But because of that, he still has to eat, he still has to get through his days, and I think some of those choices were based on that.”
Prosecutors say Mintz befriended the 14-year-old girl on the south side of Chicago, then offered her a place to stay with him in Evanston, where he forced her into prostitution and selling drugs. She and Mintz had an argument on Sept. 18, when he hit her in the face, breaking her jaw and multiple teeth, according to prosecutors.
He is charged with involuntary sexual servitude of a minor, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and aggravated domestic battery.
Talking to Patch last year, Trieschmann said she founded Curt’s Café based on her work with Restorative Justice Evanston, a nonprofit that helps criminal offenders and their victims make peace with one another and reintegrate into society. Talking to young offenders, Trieschmann wanted to know what would keep them from offending again.
“When I asked what would break the cycle, they said, ‘Find me a job,’” recalls Trieschmann.
- Trieschmann’s Interview with WBUR Boston
- Our May 2012 Story on Curt’s Café
- Our September 2012 Story on Mintz's Arrest