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Former CPD officer sentenced to 1 year in prison for sexually assaulting transgender woman

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CBS News Chicago Live

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A former Chicago police officer was sentenced to one year in prison on Friday, after pleading guilty last year to federal charges accusing him of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a transgender woman in 2019.

James Sajdak, 65, pleaded guilty in November to one misdemeanor count of willful deprivation of civil rights. U.S. District Judge John Tharp sentenced him to a year in prison on Friday.

According to his plea agreement, Sajdak was in uniform and driving a marked squad car while on duty on March 5, 2019, when he spotted his victim near Fifth and Kolmar avenues on the West Side.

Sajdak activated his sirens and ordered the woman to get into his car, but she refused, and then he threatened to arrest her, saying "you can get in the front or you can get in the back."

After the victim got into the front passenger seat of the squad car, Sajdak drove to an abandoned lot in a secluded area, locked the car doors, shut off his police laptop and radio, and sexually assaulted her.

The victim filed a federal lawsuit against Sajdak and the city in November 2019, and it was settled in a matter of months, according to court records. Sajdak paid the victim $50,000 in damages, according to his defense team's sentencing memo in the case.

The victim's lawsuit claimed the city "knew or was recklessly blind to" a pattern of misconduct by Sadjak. According to the lawsuit, Sadjak had faced at least 44 complaints of misconduct as of 2019.

Sajdak's attorneys said he joined the police force in 1989, and received 149 awards during his career, including the Superintendent's Award of Valor, before retiring after more 30 years as an officer.

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