Rape Case Versus Filipino Truck Driver Dismissed

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – The rape case filed by a 21-year-old woman against a 36-year-old Filipino immigrant has been dismissed after Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas in Chicago, Illinois “found that there existed ‘No Probable Cause’” during preliminary hearing on Dec. 19, 2011.

A court order issued Dec. 30, 2011 was made available to this reporter Monday (Jan. 24) by Ms. Blanca E. Jara, public information manager of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Attorney David J. O’Connor, private defense lawyer for Guillermo G. Balingit, Jr.  told this reporter over the phone “the judge saw in Mr. Balingit evidence of innocence that’s why the case was dismissed.”

Reached for comment by this reporter, Mr. Balingit refused to make a statement, saying, “I’m busy. Sorry.”

In a court order, Judge Chiampas said “on Nov. 22, 2011, the Defendant posted ($10,000 i-bond) bond on the aforementioned matter. As a condition of that bond, Defendant was ordered to surrender his passport to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County and thereafter complied with said Order. “On Dec. 19, 2011, a felony Preliminary Hearing was held and at the conclusion thereof, and in consideration of all facts, testimony, and evidence presented, this Honorable Court found that there existed “No Probable Cause,” at which time the Defendant was discharged of all criminal charges and released of all conditions of his bail as previously ordered by this Court.”

A note on top of the complaint dated Nov. 22, 2011 was scribbled “State withdrew complaint 1/19/11 (sic),” which Ms. Jara clarified was meant to be “12/19/11.”

Balingit, a Peapod grocery delivery truck driver, was initially charged with misdemeanor on Nov. 21, 2011 after the incident that took place inside a home in Chicago’s downtown in the Southside on Oct. 26, 2011. But the misdemeanor was dismissed (on Nov. 1) after Cook County State Prosecutors dismissed initially the woman’s claim, according to reports.

But on Nov. 21, Cook County State Prosecutors upgraded the charge into felony Criminal Sexual Assault against the Philippine-born Balingit.

BALINGIT PLEASED JUDGE SIFT THRU THE FACTS

 O’Connor said the County prosecutors “could not even get past the misdemeanor during the preliminary how could they even elevate it into a felony where a criminal case needs to be proven beyond reasonable doubt?”

He said Balingit “was very pleased that the judge was able to sift thru the facts,” adding, “he (Balingit) remains married and in love with his wife and I hope their relationship will continue.”

Mr. O’Connor said that Mr. Balingit has a legal status in the U.S. He agreed that immigrants could seek the help of their Consulates of origin under Vienna Convention when they run into trouble with the law. But he observed Consulates do not have the capacity to retain criminal lawyers. But he said it is always good to let immigrants know about this right that Consulates are around to protect the rights of their own nationals.

It was reported that Balingit started a “small talk with the 21-year-old woman,” telling her that “she looked tired and that he knew a technique to help her” get over with her fatigue. When the lady agreed to let Mr. Balingit in her living room to demonstrate his technique, Balingit went thru the motions to “massage her back and shoulders as she lay on her stomach.”

When Balingit told her to turn around and to remove her shirt, the lady said, “no.”

According to Sher Bennet, Cook County assistant state attorney, as the victim “felt trapped” and “kept telling Balingit ‘no,” Balingit took off her clothes, grabbed her breast, kissed and raped her.”

Under Illinois law, a criminal sexual abuse is a Class A misdemeanor offense for which the sentence can be up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. The judge can allow the defendant to serve two years of probation involving counseling, community service, and other conditions, as opposed to jail. It becomes a felony if force is used or the victim is unable to give consent or understand the nature of the act or was unable to give knowing consent. Being found guilty of criminal sexual abuse will require the defendant to register as a sex offender. The law in Illinois for sex offenders requires the defendant to register for a minimum period of 10 years. During this time, he has to check in with the local police department wherever he resides, and lives in a place that is approved by the police, at least 1,000 feet away from any school or daycare. Aggravated criminal sexual assault is a Class X felony offense. The defendant would be sentenced to six to 30 years in prison if found guilty. The court cannot sentence the defendant to probation. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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