Oak Lawn man found guilty of indecent conduct near school
By Steve Metsch firstname.lastname@example.org April 9, 2014 9:28PM
Updated: May 11, 2014 10:08AM
A Cook County jury on Wednesday convicted an Oak Lawn man of public indecency in an incident a year ago in which he was seen masturbating while watching children playing at a grade school in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community.
Daniel Vorberg, 31, of the 5000 block of 101st Street, was arrested May 1, a day after two residents saw him fondling himself in his car by Cassell Elementary School.
One of the residents took a photo of Vorberg’s car and license plate as he drove away when the man confronted him, and Chicago police traced the plate and arrested him at his home.
Vorberg showed no emotion when the verdict was read after jurors deliberated for four hours.
His mother and sister had attended the brief trial. His mother declined comment, but after leaving the courtroom his sister said, “I love my brother, and I will each and every day until I die. And you can say the same for my mother,”
Defense attorney Hal Garfinkel expressed disappointment with the guilty verdict, saying “the jury got it wrong.” He said it was “highly prejudicial” for the judge to allow the jury to again hear the tape of the 911 call during its deliberation.
The 911 call was made by Kelly Maloney, who lives at 112th Place and Spaulding Avenue and observed from a window Vorberg masturbating in his car, she testified at trial.
She said her daughter, then 8, and other children were playing outside at the time, and she yelled to her fiance, John Gregus, who ran outside and saw Vorberg also pointing a cellphone camera at the children.
Gergus told the jury that he shouted at Vorberg, who replied that he was making a phone call and then sped away. Gregus said he was able to use his cellphone to take a photo of the car, which led to Vorberg’s arrest.
Maloney and Gregus also identified Vorberg in photos and later in a police lineup as the man they saw in the car that day.
In his closing argument, Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Simpson emphasized that Vorberg had his cellphone wiped clean of data after the incident because he wanted to get rid of incriminating photos he took of the children.
“(Vorberg) can’t face himself for what he is. If you’re not doing anything wrong, why are you running (from the scene)?” Simpson asked the jury.
In his closing argument, Garfinkel again raised questions about the accuracy of police reports and the testimony of the witnesses. He said Maloney panicked when she saw an unfamiliar car with a man inside near children who were under her care.
“She got it wrong. She was a Mama Bear and she panicked,” Garfinkel told jurors, noting that Maloney’s claim that Vorberg’s car had slowly circled the block was not in the original report.
He said Vorberg sped away because the 6-foot-3 Gregus “is a big daunting figure” who intimidated Vorberg.
“The state calls him a stalker, a predator, who was in his ‘hunting ground.’ Don’t fall for that. Stay with the evidence,” he told the jury.
Vorberg has been charged with several crimes since 2001, including attempted child abduction, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and criminal damage to property, according to court records and published reports.
It was unclear Wednesday whether he was convicted of any of those charges.