Chicago migrant charged with sexually assaulting woman on UIC campus

A Venezuelan migrant was denied pre-trial release after allegedly following a woman from a train station and sexually assaulting her earlier this month on the UIC campus.

According to court documents, the 27-year-old suspect committed a similar, brazen attack on another woman, too.

Around 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, Elvis Hernandez-Pernalete, who also goes by Luis Guevara, allegedly followed a woman from the UIC-Halsted Blue Line Station. According to court documents, the suspect then wrapped one arm around her neck and another around her torso, grabbing her from behind.

The attack unfolded at 908 W. Harrison St., according to a UIC public safety alert.

Hernandez-Pernalete stole the victim's belongings and sexually assaulted her before running away from the scene, officials said.

"There’s a lot of walking to do here and of course, most of our students are commuters," said Roberto Gomez, UIC student.

Students strolling UIC’s campus remained on high-alert Wednesday.

"That’s very scary to hear," said Rena Pokharel, UIC student.

Elvis Hernandez-Pernalete a.k.a. Luis Guevara

While the victim was not a UIC student or staff member, according to UIC police, the assault prompted a campus-wide alert.

"We have individuals in our city who are not completely vetted, we don’t know their criminal history, we don’t know what they’re capable of," said Ald. Ray Lopez (15th Ward).

Ald. Lopez says, at this time, asylum seekers are not fingerprinted upon arrival at Chicago’s migrant landing zone.

"My hope is that as we continue to process and vet the migrant asylum seekers that are here or may come here in the future, that we do a better job coordinating with the federal government, identifying who they truly are and what their backgrounds are as well," Lopez said.

The city council member has been an advocate for adding so-called ‘carve-outs’ to the ‘Welcoming City Ordinance’ that would hold asylum seekers who commit crimes accountable.

"I know that there are individuals who undoubtedly are here trying to form a new life, trying for something better and hoping that they get that, great, but at the same time we have to address those who are just here to cause a ruckus and who are not here to be a part of the positivity of the American fabric," said Lopez.

Lopez explains that if someone on the DACA registry were convicted of a crime, they risk deportation; however, asylum seekers have broader protections.

"We cannot continue to give cover to individuals who want to play to our sympathies in order to commit crimes against the innocent," said Lopez.

In Hernandez-Pernalete’s case, court documents reveal that he didn't stop with the UIC attack – instead, following a second woman from a train station and attacking her too.

He's been charged with criminal sexual abuse, aggravated battery and strangulation, robbery, and attempted robbery.

Until his arrest, the suspect was living at the migrant shelter in the former Standard Club located in the Loop, according to court documents.

Hernandez-Pernalete was also arrested for allegedly stealing from a retail store earlier this month.

According to police, on March 9, officers were dispatched to the T.J. Maxx at 11 N. State St. after Hernandez-Pernalete was allegedly seen taking merchandise off clothing racks and putting it into a personal backpack. He was then allegedly seen leaving the store without paying for the merchandise, which totaled $136.93.

On Thursday, Hernandez-Pernalete was denied pre-trial release by a Cook County judge who cited his "pattern of attacking victims from trains."

Hernandez-Pernalete's next court date is scheduled for April 10.