CHICAGO (JGL) – You cannot teach old dogs new tricks.
This was the lesson learned by a Filipino American senior citizen Loreto M. Gaspar, Jr. on Aug. 29 when he pleaded guilty to aggravated battery in a public place and two counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse of a victim less than 13 years old for sexually abusing two young girls at a church in Chicago, Illinois’s north side more than a year ago.
Judge Charles P. Burns of the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago imposed on the 72-year-old Gaspar four years in prison for each count that will run concurrently. He was ordered jailed at Stateville Correctional Center’s Northern Reception Center and was fined $884.
This was the third time Gaspar was charged with criminal sexual assault.
In June 2010, following a bench trial, Gaspar was found not guilty by Judge Marvin Luckman of the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago after Gaspar was arrested for aggravated criminal sexual abuse and battery charges. He was accused of telling a nine-year-old schoolgirl, a daughter of Gaspar’s co-worker at the Illinois Masonic Hospital, that he liked to touch little girls as he rubbed her thigh and touched her arm.
In April 2012, Gaspar pleaded guilty to battery after almost a year-and-half of pre-trial hearings. Judge Burns sentenced Gaspar to two-year probation, telling Gaspar not to have contact with children and to surrender his passport.
The battery charge happened two months after he was found not guilty of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and battery charges. Gaspar met a seven-and-a-half-year old schoolgirl at a greeting card section of Target store in the north side of Chicago (at 2112 West Peterson Avenue).
FOLLOWED THE GIRL AND TOUCHED HER “PRIVATE PART”
The girl said a man, who turned out to be Gaspar, kept following her and touched her “private part” over her clothes. When asked where her private part was, the girl pointed to her groin area.
The girl said the man “did not move it around. His hand stayed still.” She was wearing a skirt and sandals. She was not touched in other part of her body. And he told her “he loved her.”
Part of Judge Burns’ sentence to Gaspar was to surrender or not to possess any firearm; not to contact or communicate with any complaining witnesses or members of their families, not to go to the area or premises of victims/complaining witnesses’ home, work, school, not to drink liquor and not to take illegal drug, submit to random drug testing, DNA indexing and “no contact with minors except family members.”
Gaspar escaped the charges of criminal sexual abuse, which is a Class A misdemeanor, or a second or subsequent conviction, which would have been a Class 2 felony (punishable by three to seven years in prison and fines up to $25,000) and an increased acts of criminal sexual abuse would have been a Class 4 felony (a minimum prison term of one year). He let his lawyer Steven H. Fine collect his $10,000 cash bond.
In the third case, where he pleaded guilty, he was accused of sexually abusing two young girls at a church (St. Ita Catholic Church, 1220 W. Catalpa) after previously being accused of abusing an 8-year-old girl, who was shopping with her mom in Uptown in August last year.
Prosecutors say Gaspar, a resident of 1700 block of West Balmoral Avenue, has a habit of talking with mothers in public with their daughters and touching their children while their mom is not looking.
Gaspar has been jailed since Aug. 25, 2013 after he violated his probation in a 2010 case in which he was accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl who was shopping with her mother at a Target store.
He was jailed after allegedly fondling two girls — ages 9 and 6 — on Aug. 21 while they were at church after befriending their mother, according to court records. He has since been charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse for an earlier incident that allegedly happened at the Viet Hoa grocery store, 1051 W. Argyle St., on Aug. 6.
Gaspar allegedly touched an 8-year-old girl repeatedly while her mother shopped and then ran from the store after the girl’s mother confronted him. He had previously met the two in the store. A store employee saw the abuse and recorded a video of part of it on a cellphone.
He was arrested Aug. 25 on the church abuse case and ordered held on $300,000 bail. Judge Adam Bourgeois, Jr. later set bail at $300,000 cash for the most recent charge.
Attorney Fine did not return a voice mail message by this reporter, seeking comment. Gaspar’s listed phone number that was working when he was first charged with sexual assault is no longer accessible.
“Chicanoy” is a word coined by Chicago Filipino American publisher and TV host, Veronica Leighton, to refer to a male Filipino or Filipino American living in Chicago area.
Loreto Gaspar (File Photo/JGlobaLinks)