Cook County Sheriff’s Police are investigating an alleged sexual assault on forest preserve property that took place last week between Forest Park and Maywood.

According to police, a “young woman” was walking alone westbound on Madison Street around 11:45 p.m. on Oct. 3 when she was approached by an unknown man. The man allegedly grabbed her and dragged her into the forest preserves in the Thomas Jefferson Woods where he sexually assaulted her.

Sheriff’s police described the man as black, between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-10, approximately 150 pounds with short hair. He was wearing dark jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, police said.

Proviso Township High School District 209 issued a warning Wednesday to parents and students.

“Incidents like this remind us all about the safety precautions our students and others should take when they are walking around our area, whether it is to/from school or on the weekends,” the press release said.

The school district provided a list of tips to stay safe when walking in the area:


  • Always try to walk in groups or with at least one other person.
  • Walk on sidewalks and other open areas rather than alleys that have less visibility.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and any strangers who are nearby.
  • Do not wear ear buds or headphones, so that you can remain alert to your surroundings.
  • If you have a concern about another person near you, go to a neighbor’s house, find an adult to assist you, or go back to school.
  • Never approach a vehicle unknown to you even if the occupant speaks to you.
  • Yell loudly and run if you feel you are in danger.
  • Be sure to tell your parents and/or school officials if something happens. Parents should contact the police and the school.

The sheriff asks anyone with information about the incident to call 708-865-4896. 

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...