Female residents frustrated by a frequently naked neighbor in a downtown high-rise have finally gotten police to focus on their case.
They’ve complained for more than two years to everyone from building management to their alderman, police and even the man himself. All to no avail.
A “daily nightmare” is how Streeterville resident Kaitlyn Brynarski summed it up in August. She described a view so violating she fears opening her curtains and is considering selling her condo. “24/7, he’s nude in his unit,” she said. “For 10-to-15 minutes a day, he will go near the windows and expose himself and touch himself.”
MORE FROM WGN INVESTIGATES: Illinois DCFS director resigns
A second woman, who asked not to be identified, kept a log during a recent 10-month span.
By her count, the man exposed himself a total of 68 times, sometimes multiple times a day.
“I do feel like it’s a form of sexual harassment,” she said in August.
The women filed police reports that say the man has waved and once held up a sign saying ‘come over.’
Bryniarski confronted the man in the lobby of his building earlier this year.
A cell phone video showed her telling him: “Not okay, it’s enough!” He responded: “I understand.” But the over-exposure continued. So, they turned to WGN for help.
WGN Investigates reported the story in August. Fourteen days after the report aired, Chicago police arrested and charged James Bakk, 70, with two misdemeanor counts of public indecency.
An arrest report says police have a signed complaint stating the man “was naked in his residence, looked toward her direction and began masturbating.”
Bakk has yet to enter a plea in the case.
“I’m not talking to you,” he responded while leaving a recent court appearance.
When confronted in August, Bakk acknowledged being previously asked to stop exposing himself in a way that was clearly visible to residents in a nearby building. He said the women should “put the blinds down” if they were upset by the view.
“Why don’t you put your blinds down?” WGN’s Ben Bradley asked him. “Well, that’s what I’ll do,” Bakk responded.
Former Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Maggie Mendenhall previously prosecuted similar cases.
She said intent matters when it comes to public indecency and being inside your home does not always provide protection.
“A public place under the law doesn’t have to be outside,” Mendenhall said. “It can be in your home if you’re someplace where you can reasonably be expected to be seen by others.”