CHICAGO — It’s a different kind of “neighborhood watch.”
Female residents of a downtown high-rise say they’ve seen enough of a male neighbor, who allegedly exposes himself on a regular basis in front of his windows. They claim the harassing behavior has gone on for several years.
The women complained to police and their building management company. They say they were told that nothing could be done because the man was inside his own home.
So, they turned to WGN Investigates.
“Daily nightmare,” said one of the residents, Kaitlyn Bryniarski.
She describes a view so violating she fears opening her curtains and is considering selling her condo.
“Twenty-four-seven 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.”
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.
“There’d be times he’d make eye contact with me or hold up a sign of some kind,” she said. “And then he would walk with me. If I would go to my bedroom, he would go into his other room so he could follow where I was going.”
The women have shot cell phone videos of the man from their condos, which are located directly across from his residence, on the upper floors of a high-rise. The man’s condo is not visible from the street.
The women filed police reports that say the man has waved and once held up a sign saying “come over.” Six months ago Bryniarski confronted the man in the lobby of his building. A cell phone video showed her telling him: “Not okay, it’s enough!” He responded: “I understand.” But the over-exposure continued.
WGN Investigates showed their videos to Maggie Mendenhall Casey, who formerly prosecuted public indecency cases for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
She disagreed with what the women say police told them: That the man could be not charged with a crime because he is inside his home.
“A public place under the law doesn’t have to be outside,” she said. “It can be in your home, if you’re someplace where you can reasonably be expected to be seen by others.”
What’s more, in Illinois, for a person to be charged with public indecency, it must be proven that they exposed themselves with the “intent to arouse,” Mendenhall Casey said.
Based on her review of police reports, filed by the women, and cell phone videos, Mendenhall Casey concluded, “If I had this case presented in front of me, I would go forward.”
But authorities haven’t pursued charges.
WGN Investigates recently caught up with the man outside his building. We are not naming him because he hasn’t been charged with a crime.
He told us he would lower his blinds and stop exposing himself to the women.
“They asked you to stop repeatedly – you know that right?” WGN Investigates’ Ben Bradley asked the man. “Yeah, last year.”
He told us what he told Bryniarski last fall – that he would lower his blinds.
WGN’s interview took place last month. Since then, the women say his blinds remain open. The man has floor-to-ceiling windows in his unit. They say they continue to see him naked, but he has not directly engaged with them.
Bryniarski said she hopes the man, who is approximately 70-years-old, considers the impact his escapades are having on young women who can see him.
“Everyone knows him here,” she said. “This is not a secret. It’s not just us. It impacts everybody.”
The man’s building and the one the women live in are managed by the same company. That company’s president didn’t return messages.
WGN contacted the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office for comment. Those questions were referred to Chicago Police. That agency had no response.