19th Ward residents turn up at hearing for accused Oak Lawn man
By Steve Metsch email@example.com June 21, 2013 8:16PM
Updated: July 24, 2013 6:54AM
Residents and politicians of Chicago’s 19th Ward made it clear Friday: they won’t tolerate their children or anyone to experience incidents of indecent exposure.
Daniel Vorberg, 30, of the 5000 block of 101st Street in Oak Lawn, was observed allegedly “fondling and exposing himself” around 4 p.m. on April 30 while sitting in a parked car just down the block from Cassell Elementary School, police said at the time. He was charged with two felony counts of public indecency.
Ald. Matt O’Shea sent out an email blast to 19th Ward residents asking them to show up for the arraignment as a sign of neighborhood solidarity.
“This court date is the best opportunity for our community to take part in this process,” O’Shea wrote. “Please join me on Friday and make our voices heard, this behavior will not be tolerated in our community.”
About 25 people filed into Courtroom 107 at the Bridgeview Court House for a Friday status hearing on the case. The crowd paid close attention to Vorberg’s brief appearance — he was wearing tan jail-issued coveralls and eyeglasses. His hair was cropped short as he stood silent before Judge William Kunkle.
Before the hearing, O’Shea said, “it’s important as a community that we send a message.”
“I believe Vorberg intended to do harm,” O’Shea said.
A resident, O’Shea said, allegedly saw Vorberg fondle himself while parked at 112th Street and Spaulding Avenue on April 30.
Assistant state’s attorney Tom Simpson told Kunkle that he has provided Vorberg’s attorney, Hal Garfinkel, with police reports and other information for his review. Kunkle scheduled a status hearing for Aug. 2.
Sister Pat Mahoney, a court advocate and chair of the district advisory committee, said the show of community support shows “we will not tolerate this behavior in our community.”
“The quality of life issues are extremely important,” Mahoney said. “We have a wonderful community and to maintain it, the community has to be involved with the police system and court system.”
Garfinkel said he looks forward to reviewing the police reports and other information obtained from the state’s attorney’s office.
“(Vorberg) is holding up well, remarkably well. He is strong, optimistic and confident,” Garfinkel said. “At this point I won’t make any statements regarding what he said to me.”
The large turnout did not surprise Garfinkel, who said “the charge evokes emotion” and that “’this historically has been a community that is involved.”
Nevertheless, Garfinkel said he is “quite confident there will be an acquittal,” saying he doubts the state has enough evidence.
Two 19th Ward residents said they came to show their support of the community.
Tom McGreal said “I don’t want to see this stuff in the neighborhood.”
Billy Ray Chapple, Jr., president of the Beverly-Morgan Park Civic Association, said turnout can make an impact “even if it’s one person.”
Jessica Jenkinson lives in Oak Lawn. Her backyard abuts Vorberg’s backyard. She came to the court house Friday to support the 19th Ward.
“ It’s too bad the people don’t get to speak at these things,” Jenkinson said. “I’m going to be there. If numbers count, then I want to be one of those numbers.”