Bond was significantly reduced for an Aurora University graduate student charged in a sexual assault after a group of supporters, including State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, testified on his behalf, the Beacon-News is reporting.
Shammrie Brown, 25, of the 600 block of Ohio Street in Aurora is charged with two other men in the assault of a 25-year-old single mother from Joliet at a party in August. Eric Stallworth, 21, and Corderro Pollard, 22, both of the 1500 block of Kenilworth Place, are accused of having sex with the woman while she was too drunk to consent.
Brown is not charged with having sex with the woman, but police said he was present at the time and made no attempt to stop the assault. At a bond reduction hearing Thursday, Kane County prosecutor Pam Monaco said Brown told police he touched the woman's thigh in an attempt to arouse himself after Stallworth and Pollard had finished having sex.
The judge reduced Brown's bail from $300,000 to $25,000, meaning Brown needs to post $2,500 bond to be released. If he leaves jail, he will be placed on electronic home monitoring and restricted to his home, work, school and court.
Brown's attorney, Fred Morelli, reiterated several times that Brown isn't accused of assaulting the woman and questioned the content of a police report reviewed by Judge Allen Anderson.
"That's what the policeman wrote down. We don't know what was actually said," Morelli told Anderson, while rhetorically asking what Brown was supposed to do when he walked in on what appeared to be three people having sex.
"Is he supposed to stop it? If he doesn't, is that a crime? He's a special person. He has the potential to be an asset to the community," Morelli added.
Brown was Aurora University's Lincoln Academy of Illinois' Student Laureate Award winner for 2010. He was majoring in social work and was a student ambassador for the Quad County Urban League. At the time of his arrest, he was pursuing his master's degree.
Morelli pointed out to Anderson a courtroom crowded with Brown's supporters. He called AU Provost Andrew Manion, a school librarian and the school chaplain to testify to Brown's character. Chapa LaVia also testified for Brown, who worked as an intern in her office.
"He's a very truthful young man ... devout Christian," Chapa LaVia said.
None of the three witnesses said they had independent knowledge of the August incident, with two saying they had only seen media reports. Monaco, who called the incident a "disgusting and egregious event," took exception to Brown being called a model citizen.
"He certainly put himself there (at the scene). He should have stepped up to the plate," Monaco said, noting Brown knew the woman was "intoxicated" and "helpless."
Authorities previously said the woman had been drinking with the three men before ending up at the residence where Stallworth and Pollard live. Stallworth and Pollard also made brief appearances in court Thursday, and are scheduled to seek their own bond reductions later this month. Police are looking into the possibility of similar incidents at the home.