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Man charged with threatening, striking teenage girl on CTA train platform in the Loop; prosecutors say he had record

Prosecutors: Man accused of striking 16-year-old girl at 'L' stop was registered violent offender
Prosecutors: Man accused of striking 16-year-old girl at 'L' stop was registered violent offender 02:19

CHICAGO (CBS) – A 16-year-old girl was attacked while waiting on a downtown 'L' train platform just trying to get home from high school last week.

Prosecutors said the man responsible is a convicted felon — eight times over — with a history of crimes on Chicago Transit Authority property.

As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, police also discovered something else when they went to arrest the man – Lijah Graham, 45. He had a case involving a minor back in 2013 that required him to register as a violent offender against youth.

Graham was released from prison in December and admitted that he didn't register as he should have. The question now is, should he be allowed back on the CTA?

'Violent offender' accused of attacking teen on CTA platform 02:12

In bond court Friday, prosecutors said the 16-year-old girl was at the Harold Washington Library/State-Van Buren Loop 'L' stop on her way home from high school at 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon on Tuesday, Feb 21.

CTA surveillance cameras captured Graham approaching the teen. Charging documents said he began yelling at her, asking why she turned away from him.

He then struck her in the arm and told her, "He was going to bash her head in." prosecutors alleged.

Officers were very familiar with Graham from several incidents on the CTA, including his involvement in a 2020 felony robbery case on the Red Line.

Police were able to identify him from video and he was taken into custody on Thursday.

Lijah Graham

It was then that they discovered he had "duty to register as a violent offender against youth" for a 2013 unlawful restraint conviction.

He admitted that he hadn't.

The CBS 2 investigators discovered that Graham has at least nine felony convictions and has failed to appear in court over 30 times.

CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller explained the judge in the case could have set a special condition of bond that would bar Graham from using the CTA.

"No contact with the CTA," Miller explained. "If the person posts bond and he has contact with the CTA, he's in violation of that order - and can be taken into custody."

But the judge in this case only went as far as ordering no "unlawful contact with the CTA" for Graham on Friday. In addition to a $50,000 D-bond and electronic monitoring. A D-bond requires a defendant to post 10 percent, or $5,000 in this case, for release.

Miller said if Graham he bonds out, he is still allowed to ride the CTA - but he is not allowed to commit crimes.

We did reach out to the CTA to weigh in on the judge's decision. We haven't heard back, but we'll keep following up.

At one point, the CTA had an initiative to bar repeat CTA offenders from riding the 'L.' It is unclear if that program still exists. 

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