Chicago woman says voters deserve to know about Cook County judge's past

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A Chicago woman says she was stunned when she saw her ex-fiancé had been made a Cook County judge, and will stand for election on this month's primary ballot.

That’s because she says the man was arrested after attacking her years ago, biting the engagement ring off her finger when she refused to give it back. But the judge says it never happened.

FOX 32: What was your reaction when you saw he was running for judge?

"I was horrified. Just literally horrified. I sat there in shock. Because the whole experience came flooding back to me,” the ex-fiancé said.

She doesn't want to be publicly identified because she says it was a traumatic part of her past. But the Southside Chicago woman says the public deserves to know what happened 28 years ago when she refused to give back her engagement ring to Fredrick Bates, who is now an accomplished and well-respected Chicago attorney.

In January, Bates was sworn in as a Cook County judge and appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill a judicial vacancy.

This month, he is standing for election to keep that job and has the backing of the Cook County Democratic Party.

But now, his ex-fiance is speaking out about what she says happened in her Hyde Park home in 1988 when bates surprised her by saying he wanted to break off their engagement.

"He said I'm going to marry somebody else. So of course I'm beyond shocked. And he said so just give me the ring back…I said no and he hit me in the face with his fist,” the ex-fiancé said. "I ran into my bedroom and was trying to get to my telephone. He pinned me down on the bed."

She says while holding her hands down, Bates then pulled the engagement ring off her finger with his mouth.

"He took his teeth and literally bit the ring off my finger. He took his teeth and slid the ring with his teeth off my finger. So I had bite marks all along my ring finger,” she said.

The alleged victim also says she and her father went to police the following day and Bates was later arrested and charged with felony assault.

But when the case went to court, the alleged victim didn’t hear what she was hoping to hear.
"The judge said well I don't want it to ruin his life. So I'm going to make this a misdemeanor so you can expunge your record,” she said.

Through a spokesperson, Bates disputes that, saying the assault charge was dismissed entirely because the case had no merit, and he quickly had the arrest and charge expunged from his record.

The woman then filed a civil suit against Bates making the same allegations and a judge ordered Bates to pay her $10,000.

In a statement, Bates says it was his ex-fiancé who attacked him: "These allegations are absolutely false now, as they were 28 years ago. Just two weeks before an election, we are confident that voters will see this for what it is-a politically-driven smear that is deeply hurtful to Judge Bates, as a man of the bench and a man of God."

At his swearing in ceremony in January, Bates made a promise.

"I will do my best every day on the bench to prove worthy of your support and your love,” Bates said.

But for his ex-fiancé, those words ring hollow.

"That's basically why I decided to speak to you. Because I don't think he should be a judge. I don't think he has the temperament or character to be a judge,” the ex-fiancé said. "And I believe people have the right to know when they're voting for someone. They need to know everyone's true story."

A spokesperson for the State Supreme Court says they were unaware of the assault charge and the lawsuit when Bates was appointed judge. They depend on bar association screenings, which generally require judicial candidates to disclose all convictions and lawsuits in their past.