Just days before the Obama administration announced plans to compel public school districts around the country to mix both sexes in restrooms and locker rooms, Chicago police say that a 33-yearold man followed an 8-year-old girl into a bathroom at Jason’s Deli on Canal Street near the intersection with Roosevelt.  There the man choked the girl until she lost consciousness.
 
The girl’s mother was outside the restroom and heard her daughter’s screams for help. When she ran into the restroom, the mother allegedly found assailant Hartstirn taking the unconscious girl into a toilet stall.
 
 
Hartstirn, alleged police, pushed the mother away when she tried to rescue her daughter. Other customers in the store rushed into the bathroom and detained Hartstirn until the law arrived. Police allege that he took a swing at an officer during his booking at a Central District police station.
 
Records show that Hartstirn was charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery of a child, and aggravated assault of a police officer. According to Cook County Jail records, Hartstirn is being held without bail. Hartstirn’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 16.
 
The little girl was taken to Comer Children's Hospital in Chicago for treatment.
 
Jaon’s Deli released a statement after Hartstirn’s arrest:
 
We’re blessed to have a wonderful relationship with the Chicago Police Department. Many of them are our customers and because of their connection to our deli, this unfortunate situation was handled very quickly. We’re proud of how our team members responded and thankful that we have the kind of customers that are willing to lend a hand in a difficult situation. We continue to work hard every day to make every customer happy.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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