Sex offender becomes second Cook County Jail detainee to die of COVID-19 complications

Coronavirus
Suit alleges inmates not protected from violence at Cook County Jail

CHICAGO – A sex offender has become the second Cook County Jail detainee to die of COVID-19.

Leslie Pieroni, 51, was pronounced dead Thursday evening at St. Anthony’s Hospital.

Pieroni had been hospitalized since April 3 after testing positive for COVID-19. The official cause of death is pending an autopsy, but preliminary reports indicate he died as the result of complications due to the virus, officials said.

He was booked into the jail on Dec. 23, 2018 after a judge ordered him held without bond for a November 2018 incident in which he allegedly sexually assaulted a male child.

In 2006, Pieroni was sentenced to eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections following his conviction for criminal sexual assault involving two children.

The first detainee died Sunday.

Jeffery Pendleton, 59, was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital, according to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

Pendleton was hospitalized March 30 after testing positive for the virus.

The death comes at a time where groups are protesting the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to release detainees. 276 of them have tested positive for COVID-19.

The judge denied their release Thursday.

However, the MacArthur Justice Center, who helped file this lawsuit, said the judge did affirm the government’s responsibility to keep incarcerated people safe.

“He granted the motion in part and he denied it in part,” said Van Brunt. “Particularly, the order’s focused on conditions in the jail and he directed the sheriff to do specific things and to put a plan in place to do certain things to protect detainees who are living in the midst of a pandemic right now.”

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