By Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2020

CHICAGO (AP) - A police officer was freed on bond Wednesday after being accused of sexually assaulting a high school student and a woman years before being hired by the Chicago Police Department.

Winford L. Neely is facing five counts of criminal sexual abuse for alleged assaults dating back to 2013. Neely, 39, became a police officer in 2017.

Cook County prosecutors told Judge Arthur Wesley Willis during a bail hearing streamed on line that both victims, now 21 and 38, delayed reporting the assaults to authorities.

Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said the 38-year-old woman claims Neely assaulted her in her apartment in July 2013 after she became woozy while drinking a glass of wine she left unattended as she got him a drink of water. The two met through a dating app a month earlier.

The second victim was a 15-year-old student at the high school where Neely worked as a security guard. Neely allegedly began sexually assaulting the girl on school property in fall 2014, something prosecutors said happened multiple times through March 2015. The now 21-year-old victim filed a police report in September after telling her boyfriend, who encouraged her to contact authorities, Murphy told the court.

The older woman reported the assault last year to Chicago police. Because the alleged incident occurred in Oak Park, the case was transferred to police there, and the woman implicated Neely in a video interview.

Defense attorney Adam Sheppard told the Chicago Tribune his client was a good police officer with more than 10 honorable mentions and that Neely has been cooperative with investigations by the Bureau of Internal Affairs and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Neely has a long history of coaching youth basketball, volleyball and football, Sheppard said, and his client has no other such allegations against him.

In a statement, the Chicago Police Department confirmed an internal investigation but wouldn’t say whether Neely would remain on active duty.

Willis released Neely on $100,000 bail. Sheppard said Neely planned to continue working unless told otherwise.

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