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Police Charge Man They Say Chased Girl, 10, Screaming Profanities

A 32-year-old Evanston man was charged with disorderly conduct, after police say he chased a 10-year-old King Lab student, yelling swear words as she walked to her bus.

Evanston Police charged a 32-year-old Evanston man with disorderly conduct Monday, alleging that he chased and swore at a 10-year-old girl as she was walking to her bus stop last week. 

Police say Randall T. Mercer, of the 700 block of Grey Avenue, approached the King Lab student as she was walking from her home to her bus stop near Washington Street and Brown Avenue at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, according to police. As he chased after her and screamed profanities at her, the little girl ran toward her bus stop. Mercer then ran away, police said. 

The girl identified Mercer as the man who chased her, according to police. He is scheduled to appear at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 30, in Room 104 at the Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie. 

District 65 released the following tips for parents after the incident last week: 

Safe walk routes are posted on the D65 website www.district65.net.  We also recommend that you remind your child to:

•    whenever possible, walk with a friend or trusted adult
•    stay alert to surroundings when walking
•    use the safe walk routes and avoid using alleys or shortcuts
•    obey all traffic signals, crossing guards and school patrol members.

If approached by a stranger, a child should:

•    shout “NO” loudly and continually if the stranger tries to lead the child away 
•    stay at arm’s length when a stranger approaches
•    not speak to the stranger
•    as soon as possible, tell a trusted adult what happened. 

Other ways to help a child stay safe include having a family code word that only you and your child share. This way the child can feel secure in knowing who they can talk to or take a ride from.  

Vera October 17, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Sick man
Tea October 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM
I understand that parents have to work and all, and I must admit that my children, who are now in their late twenties and thirties, were " latch key kids ", but, in today's climate, children need much more protection and should never be left to walk the streets unchaperoned. I'm afraid to walk the streets alone!
Adam S. October 18, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I want to know how verbal assault and clearly endangering the welfare of a child gets dropped down to a disorderly conduct charge?!! Can someone from the Evanston Police Department explain this to us?
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) October 19, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Cmdr. Jay Parrott, a spokesperson for the police department, had this response: "There was no physical contact involved or and verbal requests for the child to go with him. Therefore the disorderly conduct was the most appropriate charge. Additionally that person did not have any previous child related offenses."
Adam S. October 26, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Thank you Jennifer for getting that answer!
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) October 26, 2012 at 06:55 PM
You're welcome, Adam!

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